Ecosystem Services are a key link between the social and the ecological components of Social-Ecological Systems, since they translate the contributions of natural ecosystems to human wellbeing, their interactions and feedbacks. Agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism provide essential economic goods for the development of many rural and coastal areas. These human activities rely on natural capital and ecosystems functions to provide goods (food, timber) and services as territory attractiveness, quality of life and economic enhancement, which are intimately linked to the structure of territories. However, this valuable natural heritage is facing serious risks and threats linked to human activities. In fact, aquatic interface environments and their ecotones (from rivers to estuaries and coastal ecosystems) are particularly vulnerable to impacts, as they are the final sinks of human activities such as riparian clearance, over application of agrochemicals, poor soil management, infrastructural effects, fire consequences or overgrazing. Moreover, the global change, and especially climate change and biological invasions, brings additional challenges to fostering resilience in these ecosystems, exerting a profound impact on biodiversity and on the delivery of ecosystem services. In this context, resilience is a crucial emergent feature of social, ecological, and social-ecological systems, measuring their capacity to absorb disturbance, reorganize, and thereby retain essential functions, structures and trade-offs across terrestrial and coastal ecosystems.
The proposed Workshop will pay special attention to the demonstrative relevance of freshwaters, estuarine and coastal ecosystem services (provisioning, regulating/maintenance/support and cultural services), by promoting the participation of different stakeholders and policy decision-makers, since they influence and are influenced by decisions on land uses and management. A special focus will be given to the economic valuation of the ecosystem services, not only for the methodological challenges involved (e.g. addressing the value of biodiversity or cultural heritage), but also because the final outputs can be of major interest for managers and policy-makers, with high impact on stakeholders. This will illustrate how ecosystem services valuation can be incorporated into integrated environmental management landscape social-ecological management and socioeconomic planning involving stakeholders in natural resources protection. A number of plenary talks given by invited keynote speakers will provide background support covering these topics.
Subsequently, a participatory approach will be use and participants will gather in small groups (5-8 participants) to work on a practical example: the Douro river basin, which covers a geographical region with a very significant natural, economical and societal value within the national and international context.
For this kind of exercise, it is advisable to restrict participations by invitation, i.e., invitations will be sent to key-actors, as experts within the topic of ecosystem services and/or with expertise and interest on the region, either from a scientific or management point of view.
This workshop is supported by National Funds by FCT – Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology, under the project UID/AGR/04033/2019 and partially by IF/00919/2015