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D.4: Ecosystem Function Assessment

Wetlands and lagoons provide important ecosystem functions, which have to be properly taken into account in the decision-making process (ecosystem-based approach).

Working with nature, exploiting the regulatory functions such as water quality and flood regulation, is a widely shared approach (nature-based approach), but it needs to be better implemented, due to lack of quantitative data. This Action will provide elements to assess benefits of this project even beyond specific objectives and in the context of lagoon environments.

Moreover, the assessment of ecosystem services linked to restoration of lagoon habitats, in this specific case of project target habitats, represents a key element in order to highlight the link between environmental conservation and long-term sustainability of economic activities closely linked to it.

The Action is aimed at assessing the increase of ecosystem services deriving from the implementation of the project. The identification and quantification of the ecosystem services performed in this Action is also functional to estimate their socio-economic values (Action D.5).

Many ecosystem functions derive from the restoration of the transition zone between lagoon and mainland, and, in particular, from the restoration of the saline gradient, from the redevelopment of Habitat 1150 * and from the recreation of large areas of reeds, with a direct benefit on human wellbeing (ecosystem services).

In general terms, ecosystem services include:

  • Goods supply (provisioning);
  • Processes regulation function (regulating);
  • Cultural and recreational aspects (cultural services);
  • Support function (supporting) necessary to maintain the other services (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2003).

More recently the CICES group (Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services), developed in the framework of the Environmental European Agency (EEA), proposed an aggregation of Ecosystem Services into 3 categories (Provisioning, Regulation & Maintenance, Cultural).