Methodological tool development for agroecosystem services identification and evaluation - application to 'Cultivar' context

For the identification and characterisation of Ecosystem Services (ES), there are essentially 3 international classification systems: the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA, 2005), the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), and the Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services (CICES). These classifications were constructed following an evolutionary process and therefore have many similarities. In this sense, the selection of the classification system is normally related to the context and objectives of the project. Under the Cultivar framework, the CICES classification – version 5.1 will be followed, since it is widely used in the EU and meets the methodological guidelines produced by the MAES working group – Mapping and Assessment Ecosystem Services in Europe. This system includes three main categories: 1. provisioning services; 2. regulating and supporting services and 3. cultural services.   

Ecosystem services identification, assessment and monitoring is a complex and multidisciplinary issue, being its practical implementation one of the major challenges of the project. Thus, a Methodological Guide, adapted to the ‘Cultivar’ context, scale and objectives is being developed.   This Guide is based on recently developed tools (e.g. TESSA toolkit; Canadian Ecosystem Services Toolkit; ValuES, among others) that, due to their wider scope, needs to be adapted to the ‘Cultivar’ case study, and may also be adopted in similar studies.

The Guide follows a “tier approach”, being the initial tiers common to the three types of services, namely the stakeholders’ mapping and engagement and the screening phase to identify the main services provided by the agroecosystems in the selected landscape windows as by the Endogenous Genetic Resources (EGRs). Services benefiting the selected EGRs will also be analysed.

Based on the initial screening results and using participatory methodologies, priority ESs will be selected and subsequently assessed and monitored in more detail. To this end, SMART indicators (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound) will be selected data sources will be identified (primary data, i.e., to be collected by the team and/or secondary data, i.e., existing databases), as well as data collection methodologies and analysis.

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