The case study area is located within the municipalities of Balen, Geel, Meerhout and Mol (south east of the province of Antwerp). It covers 15000ha and is located in the northeastern part of Flanders, in the sandy region of the Kempen (the Campine region).
During the 19th century, people started growing pines on the infertile grounds of the land dunes for usage in the mining industry, leading to the disappearance of large parts of the heathland. As population started growing in the course of 20th century, more and more of the wet valley bottoms were drained for agricultural purposes and housing.
Nowadays, the land dune area is still characterized by its pine forests constituting an important attraction value for tourists, extensive corn fields and moist to wet meadows, industrial activity around the channels, small city centers and ribbon development throughout the area.
The graphic reflects a snapshot of the Landduinen case study activity within the GIFT-T! method for planning GI (taking into account activities and tools shifting between regional and local level during the process).
The case study followed the logical process as set out in the GIFT-T! methodology.
- A community group was formed to seek local knowledge, ownership of process and results, and mandate for future action.
- GI objectives for the inland dune region have been set out.
- A mapping exercise was undertaken to provide a complete picture of green infrastructure in the case study area. All GI and Ecosystem services were mapped using GIS data to develop a series of maps (maps of actual and potential performance of ES).
- The GI objectives and priorities were used to develop three projects or business cases (Volsbergen, BIODIVA, storytrail).
- In the Volsbergen case study a new method for GI planning has been applied
- A GI business plan as final stage.
- Sustainable development and maintenance of the landscape on a integrated and participatory basis,
- Search for new, alternative sustainable ways of financing landscape management are further detailed in tactical and operational goals on collaboration and co-ordination, co-creation and participatory ES based landscape quality standards setting, re-connecting people with landscape, financing by traditional and new mechanisms and by new alliances.
Then, The ES models have been applied in the Volsbergen case study, an inland dune covered with pinewoods and its surroundings.
Each of the quantitative measures is translated into a qualitative score of 0 (no delivery) to 5 (maximum delivery) so that a total sum of service delivery can be made and the effect of management choices on service delivery can be assessed.
A weighted sum has been applied based on stakeholder preferences. 1.37*WOOD+1.6*INFILTR+1.65*CARB+1.6*NUTR+1.74*AIR+1.49*POLL+0.7*AGR
The models together with the weighting function were then converted into a Bayesian belief network. One of the main advantages of these networks in ecological research is their ability to include uncertainties. They are however also very suitable for scenario building. On the one hand they can be used to estimate service delivery, allowing to compare different planning scenarios. On the other hand they can also point out which management option or land use delivers most services given the specific biophysical conditions of that area, and how much more services are being delivered compared to for example today’s management or land use.