OPERAS - Operational Potential of Ecosystem Research Applications

OPERAS aims to improve the understanding of how Ecosystem Services/Natural Capital (ES/NC) concepts may contribute to human well-being in different social-ecological systems in inland and coastal zones, in rural and urban areas, related to different ecosystems including forests and fresh water resources. The OPERAs research will establish whether, how and under what conditions the ES/NC concepts can move beyond the academic domain towards practical implementation in support of sustainable ecosystem management. OPERAs will use a meta-analysis (systematic review) of existing ES/NC practice to identify knowledge gaps and requirements for new policy options and instruments. New insights, and improved or novel tools and instruments, will be tested in practice in exemplar case studies in a range of socio-ecological systems across locales, sectors, scales and time.

Throughout this iterative process, available resources and tools will be brought together in a Resource Hub’, a web-based portal that will be co-developed by scientists and practitioners representing different interests and perspectives on the development, communication and implementation of the ES/NC concepts. The Resource Hub will provide the main interface between OPERAs and a ‘Community of Excellence’ (CoE) for continued practice that will benefit from OPERAs outcomes.

Overall aim of the project
OPERAs mission and major challenge is to bridge the domains of science and practice. OPERAs will advance understanding of ecosystem functioning and its relationship with ES provision and NC, by testing and further developing methods that assign values to the flow of ES from the stock of NC, and by establishing what constitutes good ES/NC governance and associated ecosystem management. Our analyses will lead to the development of new instruments to operationalise the ES/NC concepts, which will be constructed in direct partnership with relevant policymakers and stakeholders and tested in exemplar case studies. The project will communicate to ecosystem practitioners through a Resource Hub (RH) and associated Community of Excellence (CoE) that will ensure the perennity of the project outcomes. Through ground-breaking science, a systematic approach to stakeholder and user engagement and the development of new policy relevant tools and instruments, OPERAS will contribute to the effective and efficient management of ES and the underlying stock of NC while preserving their ecological value and biological diversity and enhance EU competitiveness through innovation.

EFI’s role

EFI is involved in WP4 “Instruments” and WP5 “Resource Hub”. The main tasks will be around integration of ES/NC concepts, needs and opportunities for the Green Economy and the sustainability of value chains. Linked to this is a strong focus on tool development for MCA, CBA and impact assessment tools (e.g. ToSIA); as well as on knowledge transfer to practice through developing market, implementation of Green Business and Financing approaches and good practice guidelines.

1. The University of Edinburgh
2. Institute for Environmental Studies, VU University
3. Karlsruher Institut fuer Technologie
4. Helmholtz - Zentrum für Umweltforschung GmbH
5. Lunds Universitet
6. European Forest Institute
7. Prospex
8. World Conservation Monitoring Centre
9. Foundation for Applied Information Technology in Environment, Agriculture and Global Changes
10. Institute for European Environmental Policy
11. University College Dublin
12. Mediterranean Institute of Marine and Terrestrial Biodiversity and Ecology, CNRS
13. L'aboratoire d'Ecologie Alpine, CNRS
14. University of Potsdam
15. Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich
16. WWF Bulgaria
17. WWF Romania
18. Consultora de Servicios Globales Medioambientales
19. Fundacao da Faculdade de Ciencias da Universidade de Lisboa
20. Ecometrica
21. Biotope
22. Iodine
23. Denkstatt Bulgaria
24. Centre for International Forestry Research
25. Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas
26. University of East Anglia
27. Albert Ludwigs University Freiburg
28. Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universitaet Bonn

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OPERAs has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement number 308393.

More information on the project website: http://www.operas-project.eu/  (last visited 29.7.2018)

Project management
marcus.lindner @ efi.int
University of Edinburgh
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