March 2013

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English summaries

    • pdf downloaden Public support for nature protection in a changing society
    • A.E. Buijs & C.S.A. van Koppen
    • Public support for nature protection in The Netherlands has grown remarkably since the 1970s. In recent years, however, some gaps and weaknesses have become manifest, which deserve the attention of nature protection organizations and nature policy makers. The political priority of nature protection has declined in public opinion, and several conflicts occurred between a top-down nature management approach and the preferences and practices of critically engaged citizens. Over-all, a shift can be observed from a broad consensus on nature policy and management to more polarized discourses. Against this background, five challenges for nature protection organizations and policy makers are identified: utilizing and stimulating nature recreation experiences; framing nature policy and management with citizens in mind; utilizing and stimulating volunteer work; being open and supportive to citizen initiatives even when they are critical of established nature management; and engaging in public debates with recognition of emotional arguments.

    • pdf downloaden What about nature? The future of nature experience in The Netherlands
    • Th.A.B. van Slobbe
    • In this article the author explores the future of nature experience and involvement in The Netherlands. Following research into the street value of sustainability, major trends and the most likely developments are mapped. Subsequently is indicated how governments and NGOs can anticipate on this in their nature conservation policy.

    • pdf downloaden Who appreciates which nature areas and why? Some thoughts on what nature conservation can learn from the market economy
    • F.J. Sijtsma & M.N. Daams
    • In The Netherlands there is intensive discussion about the future of nature policy and about the best way to finance nature areas. This paper contributes to this discussion by focusing on the value of Customer Relation Management (CRM) systems; systems which are essential in successful market driven organizations. We argue that Dutch nature policy needs an elaborate customer knowledge system with information on which individual customers appreciate which nature area most, and for what reasons. The feasibility and content of such a system is illustrated using the hotspotmonitor database. On the basis of such a ‘nature area CRM system’ an effective mass-customization strategy can be built, which may eventually include stronger online communities around specific nature areas.

    • pdf downloaden Agri-environment schemes in The Netherlands: what do they cost, what do they deliver and how can they be improved?
    • D. Kleijn
    • Focussing on conservation initiatives on farmland, this paper aims to provide an overview of the (cost)effectiveness of agri-environment schemes in The Netherlands. A review of published studies suggests that agri-environment schemes generally do not have positive effects on the target species groups. The few successful initiatives typically involve concerted actions of farmers and nature conservation organisations that are accompanied and constantly improved by evaluation studies and that are being supervised by a single local expert who coordinates conservation actions at the area level and liaises between all parties. Compared to reserve management, costs per hectare appear to be lower for agri-environment schemes. Nevertheless, cost effectiveness of agri-environment schemes is lower than that of reserve management because (1) the number of rare or endangered species is lower (and often zero) on farmland, (2) densities of the target species are lower on farmland, (3) agri-environment schemes do not enhance biodiversity or do not enhance reproductive success to the extent that it results in stable populations (whereas reserve management delivers such benefits). It is suggested that the agri-environmental program can become more efficient if it is targeted exclusively at rare or endangered species, if the schemes include prescriptions that have proven to effectively alleviate population dynamical bottlenecks for the target species group and if they are deployed in sufficiently large core-areas so that management can address critical landscape-scale environmental constraints.

    • pdf downloaden Green washing or greening: opportunities for agri-environmental and landscape management in the new CAP
    • A. van Doorn
    • The next months, the new regulatory framework of the common agricultural policy (CAP) will be established. The European commission (EC) proposes to couple the direct income support for farmers to three compulsory greening measures: maintenance of permanent grassland, crop diversification and to destine a percentage of the eligible area to ecological focus areas (EFA). The EC foresees great benefits for several environmental goals, like mitigation of climate change, biodiversity and soil and water management. This greening of the CAP is a much debated topic at the moment, as the performance of agri-environmental measures is much below expectations. In the new model of the CAP, the greening measures will constitute the new environmental base line for CAP direct payments to farmers, but what will they mean for Dutch nature and landscape? The measures for the maintenance of permanent grassland and crop diversification will not yield great benefits. However, the  EFA measure might potentially gain benefits for biodiversity and green/blue infrastructure in the rural landscape. Also the payment for farmers in areas with natural handicaps can be beneficial for e.g. peat meadow birds. A new model of agri-environmental management that combines the greening measures with targeted agri-environmental measures managed by cooperation of farmers, ensuring region- specificity and spatial cohesion, seems a promising way forward to the so much needed support for the agro-biodiversity of the Dutch rural landscape.

    • pdf downloaden How to develop the nature conservation strategies for The Netherlands?
    • O. Ovaskainen
    • Habitat loss is globally one of the greatest threats to biodiversity (Hanski, 2005). In the case of The Netherlands, the vast majority of land area has been converted from natural habitats to urban developments and intensive agriculture. Especially relevant aspects of habitat deterioration include eutrophication and acidification (Reijnen et al., 2012). In this situation, well planned conservation measures are needed to ensure the persistence of the remaining biodiversity and to restore part of the biodiversity that has been lost already. Two central tools for achieving such aims are the enlargement of the present network of protected areas and improving the quality of existing protected areas. Given the cost of acquiring land and the pressures for alternative forms of land use, cost-effective conservation measures are needed; this calls for a combination of scientific knowledge and of local expertise.

      I was asked by the Dutch Council for the Environment and Infrastructure to provide an expert opinion on the future development of the Dutch National Ecological Network. In particular, the task was to assess the relative cost-effectiveness of enlarging the existing network of protected areas versus the construction of ecological corridors. The idea behind ecological corridors is that they can help populations inhabiting individual conservation areas interact with each other, in which case the capacity of the ecological network to promote the persistence of biodiversity may be greater than simply the sum of those of the individual fragments (Lawton et al., 2010).

      Let me start by confessing that I am not an expert in nature protection in The Netherlands, so my assessment is based on some basic statistics on the state of the network of protected areas, reflected against a review of scientific literature on spatial ecology and conservation biology. In my own research, I have studied some themes that are relevant in this context, e.g. how landscape structure influences animal movements (e.g. Ovaskainen et al., 2008; Patterson et al., 2008) and how the structure of a conservation network influences the long-term persistence of species (e.g. Hanski & Ovaskainen, 2000). The full report for the Dutch Council is available online http://www.rli.nl/sites/default/files/u61/otso_ovaskainen_-_strategies_for_improving_biodiversity_conservation_in_the_netherlands.pdf