Speaker: Dr. Dendoncker, Director of Namur Research Group on Sustainable Development (NaGRIDD). Department of Geography, University of Namur, Belgium.
Title: Participatory Valuation and Modelling of Ecosystem Services under Land Use Change: Example from the VOTES project (Belgium) and Perspectives for Future Research
Date: Friday, June 1st, 2012
Category: Non-WICI Event


Costanza (2000) argues that in doing valuation of Ecosystem Services (ES), we need to consider a broader set of goals that include ecological sustainability and social fairness, along with the traditional economic goal of efficiency. In the VOTES (Valuation of Terrestrial Ecosystem Services) project we performed an integrated assessment of ES by taking into account the three pillars of sustainable development. The novel aspect of the research is that it did so in a participatory, and spatially and temporally explicit way using scenarios of land use change in the study area.

Land use change (LUC) was identified as one of the main pressures on ES and biodiversity. This is particularly true in Belgium where limited land surfaces are subject to intense competition for their uses. LUC scenarios developed in other projects foresee large amount of change in LU over the coming decades. This is especially the case in peri-urban areas where pressure from urbanization is the highest. Consequently, the size and distribution of semi-natural ecosystems are expected to vary dramatically hence affecting the ES they provide, suggesting the need of an integrative, multi-ecosystem approach to look at changes in ES. Relying on the aforementioned projects outputs, VOTES quantified the importance of key ES for a case study in the peri-urban belt of Brussels by integrating social, biophysical and economic valuation. The project investigated how these values are likely to change under the above-mentioned scenarios. The issues of trade-offs, transfer, and distribution of ES were examined with the local community and stakeholders. Development of new and/or adaptations to existing policy instruments, which implement the developed methodology into decision-making were suggested. The results will be presented during the seminar, with a focus on the participatory assessment and valuation. We will reflect upon the success and limitations of our participatory approach, suggesting ways to improve participatory approaches in ES valuation at the landscape scale.


Costanza, R. (2000). Social goals and the valuation of ecosystem services. Ecosystems 3:4-10.

To learn more about Dr. Dendoncker, please view his CV below:

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