GIFT-T! networks

Social networks that lead to a better GI do not just appear. It takes an effort to build networks.  In the GIFT-T! approach vision building and goal setting is a major step in creating and continuing the networks. As shown in the roadmap, vision building can start with facts, figures and maps, with the input of regional stakeholders, but also with the input of local communities. In this section a series of tools is provided that can help with vision building and goal setting with the local communities. The tools were either developed or adapted for GIFT-T!

The next tools are explicitly meant to make personal connection to the stakeholders.

In a dream session stakeholders develop a vision or dream for the future of the area, and then identify what actions are needed to make the dream a reality. The ecosystem services provided by an area are identified, as are the values assigned to these services and ideas for concrete action. The participants do not need knowledge about ecosystem services beforehand. The target group consists of users of ecosystem services (citizens, NGOs, entrepreneurs, big firms, employees, etc.) and suppliers (land owners, farmers, nature management organisations, etc.). Public servants and politicians are not invited. The dream sessions are followed by dreams markets.

The World Café engagement tool is a large but informal, relaxed meeting held in an accessible local venue in which a diverse range of stakeholders are encouraged to sit next to each other with a cake and coffee to talk about real issues affecting business, community and the environment. The number of participants can be larger than in the dream sessions.

The Walking festival is an event designed to encourage people to explore, value and understand more about the area’s natural environment and its role in ecosystem services. A mixed group of local residents, action groups, land owners and businesses is invited. Here the number of people invited can even be larger than both previous methods.

Another way to engage people in the area is to ask actors about their preferences, either face-to-face or online.

When the area or the number of actors is too large, a face-to-face questionnaire allows the integration of views from people difficult to reach otherwise. It enables to collect on-site observation data such as GI user’s revealed preferences

The online questionnaire is related to the face-to-face questionnaire, but uses the internet to gather information on the stakeholders’ preferences and relationship with the GI.

The web based consultation tool is an interactive website that allows members of the community to give their comments about where they would like improved green infrastructure at a scale relevant to them. The method is applicable for everyone, including regional stakeholders, organisations, landowners and individual members of the community.

When the initial consultation has been done and there are some scenarios or alternatives to present, choice modelling allows respondents to express their preferences by selecting and rating them. The tool gathers information from local stakeholders to inform the regional stakeholders and enables them to make better informed decisions on the GI planning process.

For businesses, a very specific group of stakeholders, the BIODIVA communication tool can be used. It is a digital tool which helps businesses to incorporate biodiversity in their management systems. It helps planners or public  stakeholders in their conversations with company on biodiversity. It inspires businesses to build a vision and to take action embedded in their management.