MAES

MAES-related developments in Belgium

The Belgian MAES working group set up as part of the BElgium Ecosystem Services (BEES) community of practice meets about a week prior to any EU MAES WG meeting to discuss input for the EU WG meeting. The latest product from the Belgian MAES WG is a reflection on the Knowledge Innovation Project on an Integrated system for Natural Capital and ecosystem services Accounting concept note. Together with EU MAES member state representatives from the Netherlands and Luxembourg we started networking and collaboration as a BENELUX MAES initiative. We had a very fruitful joint meeting and are currently looking for opportunities to extend this, e.g. in a joint project.

Within BEES, several thematic transdisciplinary working groups are still active. At the end of 2014 the first BEES Christmas Market was organized with great success. The plan for 2015 is to repeat this, this time in collaboration with the EU MAES WG.

In Flanders, the Nature Report (NARA) is conceived as a regional ecosystem (REA) assessment and consists of three successive phases. The first phase (NARA-T) describes the state and trends of ecosystems and their services in Flanders. It was presented to the Flemish government on 27 February 2015. The Flanders REA Synthesis Report (dutch + English, 80 pp), an interactive mapping tool with GIS data, and the Technical Report (dutch, +1500 pp.) can be downloaded from www.nara.be. Flanders REA stage II will be completed by the end of 2016. It consists of several projects at the Flemish, regional and local scale, in co-production with policy agencies and other stakeholders. The theme of stage II is ‘Putting Ecosystem Services To Work’. Stage III will develop map and value alternative scenarios for Green Infrastructure, by 2018.

In Wallonia, WalES, the Walloon ecosystem services platform which involves administration and scientists, is finishing its first year of activities. The main results are : 1. the development of a conceptual framework and a integrated assessment framework (to be finished), 2. the adoption of typologies for ecosystems (by merging land cover data with info on the ecological context -soil, slope, etc.- and management methods) and ES (by adapting the CICES classification for Belgium to Wallonia), 3. the development of a common and shared information system, including a website and a database gathering and detailing all available data and data flows useful for ES mapping and biophysical valuation (indicators and proxy). The annual work program also schedules a simplified mapping of ecosystems and ES at regional scale, depending on the data readily available. In parallel, a research project is ongoing at local scale. It aims at defining a methodology for impact assessment of rural land consolidation plans based on ecosystem services. An evaluation of the platform will be done before the end of the year. Presently, no resources are affected for further work. Political concern was to focus developments on concrete decision making tools. Few examples of such tools have been found up to now (mainly participatory processes based on ES approach).