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MAES-related developments in Lithuania
In 2017-2019 Lithuania has seen some important developments in the topic of ecosystem services, regarding both MAES process and Ecosystem Services integration in general.
Regarding national policy developments, most notably, MAES has been included in the current Lithuanian Government’s Work Programme for 2016-2020: Action 1.5.4 calls for mapping and assessment of the status of at least 24 main ecosystem services, and urges the adoption of the legislation to foster integration of the ecosystem services approach into sectoral policies (those important for the maintaining or improving the state of ecosystems and their services). A clear and all-inclusive strategy on how to achieve these goals (and for what purpose) is still lacking, but it is currently in development.
In 2017-2018, a six-month project dedicated to kick-starting Ecosystem Services valuation and integration process at the national level was carried out. Among the project results were: current situation analysis; expert survey on the ecosystem and ecosystem services condition in Lithuania; stakeholder engagement and awareness raising activities; CICES translation into Lithuanian; and a proposal for improving integration of the ecosystems, their services and biodiversity considerations into sectoral policies.
LINESAM: NATIONAL ECOSYSTEM SERVICES ASSESSMENT AND MAPPING PROJECT
A national MAES project ‒ LINESAM, Lithuanian national ecosystem services assessment and mapping (2017-2021) ‒ is currently being carried out in Lithuania. LINESAM is a project by an international team based at Mykolas Romeris University, funded by the Lithuanian Research Council. Although the project was not commissioned by the Lithuanian Ministry of Environment (as is usually the case with national MAES studies in other Member States), the Ministry is working closely with the Project team, having signed a Partnership agreement with the University in October 2018.
- Developing a national Ecosystem Services mapping and assessment framework to improve the understanding of the relationships between ecosystems, biodiversity and human wellbeing and how drivers of change may affect Ecosystem Services supply in Lithuania
- Supporting the development of planning and management strategies grounded on socio-ecological principles of ecosystems and biodiversity
- Creating a common knowledge baseline on Ecosystem Services
- Interim report expected second half of 2019
- Project end ‒ second half of 2021
- Geoportal (in English) where the data layers, maps, assessments and various other publications will be published. Maps are interactive and can be used for further research or other applications
- Scientific publications
- Project is both national level and case study specific
- Assessing and mapping 32 ecosystem services:
- Ecosystem Services based on CICES
- Which Ecosystem Services → expert selection
- Modelling → Ecosystem Services potential, supply, demand (following MAES framework)
- 4 case studies across selected ecosystems:
- Forest ‒ Alytus region
- Urban ‒ Vilnius region
- Cropland ‒ Šiauliai region
- Coastal ‒ Klaipėda region
- Stakeholder engagement process to identify beneficiaries of Ecosystem Services.
For more information on this project, in English, please visit: linesam.mruni.eu
OTHER PROJECTS AND INITIATIVES
- VivaGrass project carried out jointly with Latvian and Estonian partners, specifically on grassland ecosystem services. Project included regional, national and local assessment and mapping of grassland and cropland ecosystem services, development integrated management tool, and substantial stakeholder engagement.
- Another project has been funded by the Research Council of Lithuania, EcoServe, on the future of the ecosystem services of the Lithuanian coastal zone in the context of the global changes.
- Projects on forest Ecosystem Services (FOREstRESS), freshwater Ecosystem Services (RETRO), wetland restoration (LIFE Wetlife2, with Ecosystem Services delivery among the restoration goals), and others.
INTEGRATION OF ECOSYSTEM SERVICES VALUATION IN DECISION-MAKING
In addition to MAES process, multiple activities are being carried out regarding integration of the concept of Ecosystem Services:
1. Engagement of stakeholders, awareness raising, strengthening competencies:
- Surveys, public consultation (with experts)
- Stakeholder workshops and other meetings
- Publications: traditional media, social media, dedicated page on the Ministry of Environment website
- Ecosystem Services project and initiatives database (in development)
2. Advocacy of the Ecosystem Services concept, aiming to incorporate Ecosystem Services into key national planning documents, for example:
- LRBP 2030, Lithuanian national comprehensive territorial plan (in development)
- NPP 2030, Lithuanian national strategic plan (in development)
- LUP, Lithuanian urban agenda
3. National study on Ecosystem Services integration (in planning), which would aim to:
- Identify priority sectors for integration e.g.spatial planning, ecosystem restoration prioritisation, EIA/SEA, etc.
- Outline models and tools should be applied for integration
- Carry out economic valuation of ES (national level)