Increasing anthropogenic pressures often jeopardize ecosystem integrity and policy-relevant conservation management in protected areas. To harmonize nature conservation with human well-being, EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 suggests Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES) as the key concept for environmental planning and management in EU Member States. Applying this procedure is challenging due to its data-demanding and multidisciplinary nature, resulting in the ecoystem services (ES) approach being scarcely used in protected areas management. Increased data availability under EU biodiversity-related inventories and monitoring projects, as well as theoretical and empirical research advances developed during the last decade, should be put into practice to guide Member States towards local management frameworks and scenario building under the ongoing changes in the EU socio-economic environment. This study aims at filling this gap by embodying into the MAES operational framework a scenario-based approach and demonstrates this in a challenging case study of a Natura 2000 site, Lake Stymfalia, in Greece. The present management strategy, an ecological-friendly management practice, a water-efficient management practice and a non-environmentally friendly option (e.g. ecosystem destruction) are examined for current and future water demand under current and future climatic scenarios. The proposed methodological framework for ES operationalization is based on the available data (derived by EU Directives and/or modelling), expert judgment and stakeholder involvement. Therefore, this work applies and tests the importance of the MAES approach as a management and coordination platform.
Keywords: Economic valuation; Ecosystem services; Natura 2000; Water conflict; Water resources management.
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