University of Trento, Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering
Contact for the resource
Integrating the ecosystem services (ES) approach into the strategic environmental assessment (SEA) of spatial plans is seen as a suitable option for considering the value of nature in decision making and policy processes. However, there is an increasing concern about the institutional context and a lack of a common understanding of SEA and ecosystem services for adopting them as an integrated framework. This paper addresses this concern by analysing the current understanding and network relations in a multi-actor arrangement as a first step for moving towards a successful integration of ES in SEA and spatial planning. We based our analysis on a case study in Chile, where we applied a questionnaire survey aimed at the principal actors behind the planning process. The questionnaire focused on issues such as network relations among actors and on conceptual understanding, perceptions and challenges for integrating ES in SEA and spatial planning, knowledge on methodological approaches, and the connections and gaps in science-policy. The main findings suggest that a common understanding of SEA and especially of ES is still in an initial stage in Chile when we consider the context of multiple actors. Additionally, the lack of institutional guidelines and methodological support is considered the main challenge for integration. We conclude that preconditions exist in Chile for integrating ES in SEA and the spatial planning practice, but they strongly depend on an appropriate governance scheme which encourages a close interaction science-policy as well as collaborative work and learning.