On the 10th of November 2021, the State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic, in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic and PRONATUR NGO jointly organised a workshop focusing on the Carpathian Ecosystem Services Toolkit, developed within Centralparks. The workshop was hosted in hybrid format, with participants attending on-site in Bratislava as well as online.
Successful knowledge exchange
The experts of the PRONATUR, the Ministry of Environment and the State Nature Conservancy introduced participants to the theme of ecosystem services, and informed about development of the ES assessment in EU and Slovakia. J. Kadlečík presented in short the Centralparks project and the preparation of one of the project´s most important outputs, the Carpathian Ecosystem Services Toolkit (CEST) elaborated in 2020-2021 by a designated transnational thematic task force. One of the main authors of the CEST Mr. J. Černecký of the State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic presented the CEST itself, its content and main chapters. Mr. P. Mederly (Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra and PRONATUR NGO) provided an explanation of the step-by-step approach in the ecosystem services assessment process recommended in the CEST and some examples of ecosystem services assessment in Slovakia.
During the discussion (moderated by P. Semjanová) participants expressed the need for urgent ecosystem services assessment and data availability for the integrated evaluation of the benefits of ecosystem services, especially in national parks and other protected areas related to the planned transformation of nature conservation and administration in Slovakia. Moreover, participants urged the Ministry of Environment and other authorities to continue in the process of mapping and assessment of ecosystem services and speed up these activities. Generally the workshop received a positive feedback and participants expressed their interest in the theme and the CEST itself.
What are ecosystem services?
Ecosystem Services are considered to contribute to ecosystems (natural or semi-natural) and human prosperity (quality of life). Ecosystem services are dependent on natural resources such as soil, air, water, biodiversity and fauna, which are generally described as natural capital. Therefore, simply put, ecosystem services are the “benefits of nature directly or indirectly used by humans“. Through nature and its services, people meet a large part of their needs, in particular:
- Basic resources needed for survival (food, water, raw materials …)
- Adequate quality of the environment and its components (air, water, soil, biota and biodiversity …)
- Socio-cultural superstructure (relaxation, education, spiritual values…)
What is the Carpathian Ecosystem Services Toolkit?
The Carpathian Ecosystem Services Toolkit in an interdisciplinary toolkit developed for managers and analysts, to support the effective assessment of ecosystem services in the Carpathians.
Within the Centralparks project, numerous experts from the Carpathian countries have worked on the Carpathian Ecosystem Services Toolkit (CEST) which is intended to serve as both a guide and a valuable resource for the evidence-based decision-making as well as for the similar management practices not only in the Carpathian region but also in other European countries. It provides a practical set of procedures for understanding what might be gained or lost from a given management choice and the human dimensions of such effects. It can help managers to better comprehend and address potential issues and reduce conflict. As a separate deliverable developed within Centralparks, a step-by-step guidance document to complete a comprehensive ecosystem services assessment has been developed within the Toolkit. This includes guidance about the information, analysis, and process needed, using experience from similar ecosystem services assessments and will depend on what is required to address.
The Carpathian Ecosystem Services Toolkit will soon be published on the project website, stay tuned!