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ECOPLAN - SE (Scenario Evaluator)

Aim of the resource

Often, many alternative scenarios are considered for spatial development projects. However, scenarios can have unexpected effects on the delivery of ecosystem services. ECOPLAN-SE calculates the associated effects and presents the results in an understandable way. The analysis can help in the development of a more multi-functional project design and with the communication to the wider public.

Using the resource
Requirements for using the resource:
<p>Often, many alternative scenarios are considered for spatial development projects. However, these scenarios can have unexpected effects on the delivery of ecosystem services. ECOPLAN-SE calculates the associated effects and presents the results in an understandable way. The analysis can help in the development of a more multi-functional project design and with the communication to the wider public.</p>

<p>This integrated model allows calculating&nbsp;and comparing such scenarios. The models simulate&nbsp;processes and interactions in a spatially explicit manner and&nbsp;are sequentially invoked through an overarching meta-model. This also allows to show the effects of changes in a particular ecosystem service by working on other ecosystem services ( eg: water extraction &gt; water table drops &gt; loss of carbon storage&gt; nutrients exemption &gt; biomass). The results have a high accuracy, but the models require detailed input data and use a lot of computing power and data capacity. They are suitable to assess and compare for final development scenarios.</p>

<p><strong><em>How does ECOPLAN-SE work?</em></strong></p>

<p>ECOPLAN-SE is able to calculate and evaluate quantitatively the effects of spatial scenarios on 18 different ecosystem services: 4 producing, 8 regulating, 3 supporting and 3 cultural services. The user can define and then evaluate the scenarios using quantitative models, specifically developed for the Flemish Region (data and context). The tool presents the results of the calculations in several, understandable ways.</p>

<p>ECOPLAN-SE is available as a QGIS plug-in, including a comprehensive GIS database on the level of the Flemish Region. The plug-in consists of 3 parts that enable a complete ecosystem services analysis (Figure 3):</p>

<ol>
<li>On the basis of changes in land cover, use, management and changes in hydrology, the user can select different spatial scenarios.</li>
<li>The tool calculates the effects of the scenario on 18 ecosystems and presents the supply and delivery in figures and map layers.</li>
<li>In the last step, the tool analyzes the scenarios: impact maps (changes in ES-supply) and tables are created that can be used in the QuickScan. In addition, there is the option to perform a spatial analysis of multi-functionality in the area – the 18 map layers are statistically analyzed on the occurrence of services together.&nbsp; These services bundles are then visualized.</li>
</ol>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p>Overview of a scenario analysis with ECOPLAN-SE</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p><img alt="" src="https://www.uantwerpen.be/images/uantwerpen/container25745/images/Fig%20p28%20EN.png" /></p>

<p><img alt="" src="///C:/UsersJSTAESAppDataLocalTempmsohtmlclip1%01clip_image002.png" /></p>

<p>Examples of the analysis results: A) yield per hectare for 2 scenarios, B) Difference (%) between 2 scenarios, C) Hotspot (red) – coldspot (blue) mapping for infiltration.</p>

<p><img alt="" src="https://www.uantwerpen.be/images/uantwerpen/container25745/images/fig%203.png" /></p>

<p><em><img alt="" src="///C:/UsersJSTAESAppDataLocalTempmsohtmlclip1%01clip_image003.png" /></em></p>

<p>Impression of the ECOPLAN-SE plug-in in QGIS: The plug-in consists out of a drop-down menu with which the different models can be evoked.</p>

<p><img alt="" src="https://www.uantwerpen.be/images/uantwerpen/container25745/images/fig%202.png" /></p>

<p><strong><em>When can the ECOPLAN-SE be used?</em></strong></p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p>This tool can calculate the ecosystem services delivery in an exploratory phase of a project. Based on these results, you can determine which areas are important for certain ecosystem services and which areas offer little for some ecosystem services. This information can be one of the starting and discussion points in the development of a regional vision.</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p>ECOPLAN-SE can also be implemented in later stages of plan development to evaluate multiple scenarios. The calculation and analysis tools enable to assess and visualize the positive and negative effects of each scenario. These results may help to further develop the regional vision and to lastly reach a final layout scenario. The calculations provide information with which one can evaluate which interventions and zones from the layout plan yield the largest ecosystem services benefits. Based on a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis you can identify which interventions should get the highest priority during the implementation of the project.</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p>ECOPLAN-SE is developed for spatial planners working for administrations, agencies and technical offices. This tool is a simple, well –arranged software, but a basic knowledge of QGIS is required.</p>

<p><strong>You can download the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.uantwerpen.be/images/uantwerpen/container25745/files/Handleiding%20Scenario%20Evaluator%2020170223.pdf">manual&nbsp;</a>for the QGIS plugin&nbsp; (for now only available in Dutch).</strong>&nbsp;</p>

<p><strong>If you want to test the QGIS plug-in yourself, you can send a mail to dirk.vrebos@uantwerpen.be and/or&nbsp;jan.staes@uantwerpen.be. We will provide you a login for an ftp-download (the built-in geodatabase&nbsp;is&nbsp; &gt;&nbsp;5 gigabyte)&nbsp;</strong></p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p>Overview of the ecosystem services and their units which are currently included in the model&nbsp;</p>

<p><img alt="" src="https://www.uantwerpen.be/images/uantwerpen/container25745/images/Picture1.png" /></p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>
Potential benefits from using the resource
High spatial accuracy
High thematic accuracy
Cascade modelling system - ES are not calculated independently
Trade-off analysis
Free and Open Source software platform (QGIS/PYTHON)
Potential limitations from using the resource
Requires high resolution spatial data
Only validated for Flemish Region
Assessment of effectiveness of the tool or instrument
<p>The tool has been tested and evaluated by applying the tool to a&nbsp; diversity of projects during the ECOPLAN project (<a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/309286170_Planning_for_Ecosystem_Services_the_ECOPLAN_toolbox">More information</a>). Most of these cases were&nbsp;embedded in a broader&nbsp;participatory approach.</p>

<p>After the project ended the tool has been used to assess EU LIFE projects, Environmental Impact Assessments and Cost-benefit studies.</p>

<p>A bèta Version of the Tool was used to perform a comprehensive, large-scale, spatial explicit <strong>quantification and valuation of ES delivered by the NATURA 2000 network</strong> in the Flemish Region. The assessment focused on which services the existing network delivers and how these services are influenced after realisation of site-specific conservation objectives. The findings and methodological challenges of this application&nbsp;have been documented in the paper entitled&nbsp;"<a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212041616303722"><strong>Quantification of the potential impact of nature conservation on ecosystem services supply in the Flemish Region: A cascade modelling approach</strong></a>"&nbsp;April 2017.&nbsp;Ecosystem Services 24:124-137 DOI 10.1016/j.ecoser.2017.02.020</p>

<p>Beside further development of the tool for applications within the Flemish Region, we will also develop a functional version of the tool for the 2 SEAS region, including parts of the Netherlands and South of England throughout the PROWATER project.</p>

<p>The recently approved INTERREG 2 SEAS project&nbsp;<a href="https://www.uantwerpen.be/popup/nieuwsonderdeel.aspx?newsitem_id=3091&amp;c=LANDP305&amp;n=106844">PROWATER </a>(‘Protecting and restoring raw water sources through actions at the landscape scale’), aims to strengthen the resilience against drought and extreme rainfall through ‘ecosystem-based-adaptation’. In other words: a spatially targeted restoration of infiltration (forest conversion and heathland creation)&nbsp;and retention&nbsp;(headwater wetlands) will help us to efficiently combat water scarcity and flooding, at the same time improving water quality.&nbsp;By identifying, quantifying and demonstrating the added benefits (ecosystem services) of&nbsp; this&nbsp;nature-based adaptation (with an adapted version of the ECOPLAN SE), the full range of advantages associated to the restoration measures will be known, which will strongly improve public support.</p>

<p>PROWATER kicks of in September 2018 and has a runtime of 4 years.&nbsp;</p>
Scope
Sub/region where used:
Scale of application:
Regional
Practical information
Other languages in which the resource is available:
Dutch (Belgium)
Development stage:
Full, working product
Contact details
Resources

ECOPLAN-SE is a QGIS plugin for evaluating ecosystem services supply. It is able to calculate and evaluate quantitatively the effects of spatial scenarios on 18 different ecosystem services: 4 producing, 8 regulating, 3 supporting and 3 cultural services. The user can define and then evaluate the scenarios using quantitative models. The tool presents the results of the calculations in several, understandable ways.

Contact

Subregions covered


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