Perspectives on the future of nature in Europe: impacts and combinations

24-07-2017 | Publication

Halting biodiversity loss in the EU requires substantial policy action. The Nature Outlook study elaborates four perspectives on the future of nature, in search for new policy approaches. This background report shows that many synergetic combinations exist between pro-nature actions from varying perspectives, in particular in urban regions and mountainous areas.

What could nature look like, across Europe?

This background report describes the quantitative assumptions behind the results published in the report entitled ‘European nature in the plural’ . It shows the maps and assessments of the four perspectives on nature. The report outlines four elements:

  • A trend scenario shows how certain environmental pressures are expected to increase, for many species. The impact of climate change is becoming more prominent.
  • Maps of the four perspectives show the varying pattern of nature and nature actions across Europe, between perspectives.
  • None of the four perspectives is ‘the best’ for all species and all ecosystem services. Pro-nature actions taken under each of the four perspectives have a positive impact on certain species or certain groups of ecosystem services.
  • Combining pro-nature actions from various perspectives is very well possible. Using multiple perspectives may provide insight into opportunities and point to possible conflicting approaches.

Exploring synergies between perspectives in urban and mountainous regions

The various perspectives on the future of nature point to a range of nature-related actions. These may be targeted towards the same areas, and be either synergetic or conflicting, in terms of landscape and area management. Actions under the four perspectives vary the most in urban and mountainous regions. Both types of regions have their specific set of challenges.

Possibilities for combining various actions in urban regions include combinations between landscape care, local food production, ecosystem services in agriculture, water management and up-market housing. In mountainous regions, possible combinations for large nature areas and ecosystem services could relate to inland water retention and carbon sequestration. However, this type of nature does not combine well with the conservation of man-made landscapes that are highly valued for their cultural characteristics. Regional stakeholder dialogues could help to combine or choose between the various aims and desired states of nature.