Contributions Workshop 2.1.A:
Communicating Ecosystem Services from Mountains


ID: 160
Workshop & Poster
AlpES e-learning: supporting Ecosystem Services comprehension to facilitate their implementation
Keywords: Ecosystem Services, e-learning, AlpES, dissemination

Gottardelli, Simone1; Cortese, Luigi2; Fosson, Jean Pierre1
Fondazione Montagna sicura, Courmayeur (Aosta Valley), Italy; 2ETM Services, Quart (Aosta Valley), Italy;

Workshop Abstract:

The main aim of AlpES project is to increase the capacity of Alpine Space stakeholders in managing and implementing Ecosystem Services in their activity, considering all the constraints and opportunities deriving from the specific context in which they work. The AlpES Capacity Building Model (CBM) responds to the following issues: create or increase the stakeholders’ capacity to manage and apply ES in their activity, facilitate the implementation of ES in institutions and public administrations of the Alpine Space, suggest and support new approaches to make more effective the implementation of the ES concept in the Alpine Space area. The CBM is based on the outputs and deliverables produced within AlpES project and consists in a series of activities which create “positive conditions” to increase the knowledge of ES and their effective use in the stakeholders’ contexts, with reference to environment management and territorial development. One of the main activities that allows the transfer the main AlpES outcomes to the audience is the dissemination, through a dedicated e-learning platform available at this URL: The value of this instrument is its capacity to propose meaningful modules of information about AlpES results. In the training platform, each user can either follow a structured predefined series of modules or choose specific sections of interest “à la carte”, all of this according to the user’s level of knowledge and their training purposes (tailor-made approach). The learning tool has been structured in three levels (basic, intermediate and advanced), it is supported with dedicated infographics and other visual materials and it provides, at the end of each module, a set of questions allowing the users to verify their understanding of the contents they went through.

ID: 173
Workshop & Poster
Farm Resilience and Ecosystem Services: Experience from the Ötztal Valley
Keywords: farm resilience, ecosystem services, Tyrol

Stotten, Rike
University of Innsbruck, Austria

Workshop Abstract:

Farming here preserves several types of ecosystems and shapes the cultural landscape for recreational and touristic uses as well as an asset of cultural heritage. Farming further has an impact on social cohesion, provision of energy from renewable resources, and keeping rural areas viable. However, the declining importance of food production stimulates, not to say forces, farmers to adapt their farm management to be resilient. Thus, the farm resilience has an impact on the provision of ecosystem services by the farming community.

A study investigating farm resilience in the Austrian Ötztal valley reveals that farm diversification serves as one strategy to confront those vulnerabilities. In the case study area in the Upper Ötztal, farms are basically managed part time. Additionally, farm-based accommodation serves to generate a basic income, which enables the farm to adapt and buffer unforeseen events (shocks). The income generated from tourism offers further options to innovate and to respond to new options and serves thus to subsidize the farming structure. This strategy is the base to keep agro-food systems in mountain areas active and makes it attractive for successors to take over the farm in combination with the accommodation activity. Nevertheless, this strategy has a positive impact on the farm resilience and thus on the provision of ecosystem services. The link of tourism accommodation – farming activities – ecosystem services if often not very obvious. This aspect of resilience is therefore an indispensable factor when communicating ecosystem services from mountains.

ID: 201
Workshop & Poster
Payments for ecosystem services need to consider the idiosyncratic nature of groups
Keywords: payments for ecosystem services, economic incentives, groups, policy

Gsottbauer, Elisabeth; Blanco, Esther
University of Innsbruck, Austria

Workshop Abstract:

Increasing trends in biodiversity loss and a worldwide decline in ecosystem services generate concerning prospects of human well-being. Within this context, there is an increasing policy pressure to develop payments for ecosystem services (PES) to complement the system of protected areas restricting use of particularly valuable resources. PES aim to compensate ecosystem service providers for conservation efforts and to induce them to take account of the overall environmental costs of their behavior. In other words, the goal is to create a value for nature while it is conserved in order to counterbalance the incentives to degrade it for subsistence or commercial exploitation.

For now, the mainstream approach has been to direct PES to individuals. We argue, however, that the scientific community should start setting the ground to define how to make PES to groups work, as there are three relevant cases where PES cannot target individual ES providers and can only be directed to groups of ES providers. A first case is when land tenure is not based on private property that can be enforced, but on joint property or community owned land. Excluding these contexts for the potential to receive PES is problematic, as this is the type of the tenure for the ecosystems that generate the most valuable ES on Earth.

Our approach is rooted in the behavioral economics discipline, which considers that subjects are not merely a homo economicus but can have motivations beyond the self-interested payoff-maximization. We provide an overview of the empirical results from laboratory, lab-in-the field, and field experiments with different sorts of subject populations about incentivizing groups, which are relevant to the design of PES. Ultimately, we aim to draw lessons on how to efficiently design PES schemes and also address the role in improving communication of research for policy advice.


ID: 213
Workshop & Poster
Ecosystem services in practice in Mountain Biosphere Reserves

Humer-Gruber, Heidi; Braun, Valerie
Institute for Interdisciplinary Mountain Research ÖAW, Austria

Workshop Abstract:

Ecosystem services in practice in Mountain Biosphere Reserves

Ecosystem services (ES) are the benefits people obtain from biodiversity and ecosystems. ES approach offers the opportunity for understanding the benefits of biodiversity and functioning ecosystems for human well-being. ES have often been interpreted as exclusively monetary value, neglecting the social and cultural perspectives of ecosystems important for human well-being. Since the late 1970s ES have played an important role in science and has been apprehended by international politics and the European Community later. The UNESCO's Man and Biosphere implemented the approach within the Madrid Action Plan and according to the Lima Action Plan the approach of ES should be applied in UNESCO biosphere reserves (BR) to aim for a combination of conservation requirements with human’s social, cultural and economic demands. In our study we would like to pursue the question on how the ES approach is implemented in BRs

We want to identify to which extent the ES approach is already applied in practice and how the ES approach can be integrated successfully into the BRs’ management, especially considering the social and cultural dimension of ES. We would like to present our research project and initiate a short discussion. We are curious about your experiences and would like to discuss best practice examples in the workshop:

How are ES applied in the management of Alpine protected areas and in Alpine communities?

The International Mountain Conference 2019 in Innsbruck provides the opportunity to discuss with international experts on how ecosystem services are already applied in (European) mountain areas in practice. This short discussion and brainstorming session will be integrated in our research project.


ID: 255
Workshop & Poster
A Concept for Comparing Social Ecological Metabolisms of Alpine Communities
Keywords: social ecological metabolism, ecosystem services, resilience

Marshall, Kathryn; Metzler, Michael; Leitinger, Georg; Schermer, Markus
University of Innsbruck, Austria

Workshop Abstract:

A social-ecological metabolism describes interactions between nature and society. This interaction is important to consider in mountain areas because many villages depend on ecosystem services for economic security. One example are alpine villages dependent on winter tourism. We propose a visual depiction of a social-ecological metabolism constructed using five indicators of livestock, crops and timber, infrastructure, human flow, and main residents. The indicators together describe the provisioning service of energy as it enters and leaves a community.

Communicating an ecosystem service in the form of a metabolism is important because it allows developers and community stakeholders to describe the environmental capital of a community. Environmental capital, alongside economic and social capital, are used when evaluating the resilience of a community. Combining ecological concepts of ecosystem services and sociological concepts of resilience in a social-ecological metabolism is a way to compare energy practices of mountain villages, to understand historical patterns of development, and a way to approach development plans in response to trends such as climate change.

Poster Abstract:

A Concept for Comparing Social Ecological Metabolisms of Two Alpine Communities

The ecological concept of ecosystem services and the sociological concept of resilience can be combined in an interdisciplinary framework called a socio-ecological metabolism. A metabolism describes the interaction between nature and society. Our theoretical research combines provisioning ecosystem services in the form of energy with the concept of environmental capital, which is used when describing community resilience. In this project we developed a concept to describe the differences in energy flows of two different alpine communities (Vent and Obergurgl). Compared to other socio ecological metabolism studies, these communities are subjected to high fluctuations of residents. Therefore a new, less survey prone approach was introduced, which also accounts for the continuous ‘human flow’ of tourists and seasonal workers.

The metabolism describes the indicandum of energy using five indicators that earn specific weights from energy flow calculations based on indicator proxy values. Energy flow is categorized through imports, local extraction, exports, and local consumption. Our proposed indicators include human flow, main residents, livestock, crops and timber, and infrastructure. Visualizing the energy exchange between nature and society is valuable for a range of research interests, such as understanding historical development patterns, evaluating external versus internal energy dependencies, comparing alpine communities and developing plans in response to climate change.

The novel ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach introduced in this project could help describe energy demands and flows of touristic communities in a very simple fashion and can be projected to other villages with similar circumstances. Through a socio-ecological metabolism, it is possible to communicate the concept of provisioning ecosystem services in the context of community resilience.


ID: 496
Workshop & Poster
Relationships between dairy farming and Mountain Agro-Ecosystems: participatory approaches to design sustainable development strategies
Keywords: mountain dairy product, mountain grassland, ecosystem services, added value, participatory approaches

Pachoud, Carine1; Ramanzin, Maurizio2; Sturaro, Enrico3
UIBK, Austria / UR Green, Cirad, France; 2DAFNAE, UNIPD, Italy; 3DAFNAE, UNIPD, Italy

Workshop Abstract:

The multifunctionality of mountain livestock systems can be addressed using the ecosystem services (ES) approach, to ascribe values to products and services that contribute to human well-being and attractiveness of mountain areas.

Two case studies will be presented to discuss the use of participatory approaches (qualitative and quantitative) to analyze the awareness of relevant stakeholders (i.e. farmers and producers, tourist operators, local policy makers) on relationships between dairy farming systems, mountain agro-ecosystems and the associated ESs. The study areas are located in the Dolomites (Eastern Alps) where high quality cheeses are produced in cooperative dairies. The first case study concentrates on permanent dairy farms (Interreg ITA-AUT, “TOPVALUE” project) and the second one focuses on summer farms (highland pastures, “SmartAlp” project). Based on our results, collaboration among stakeholders is highly suggested to design effective sustainable development strategies and to improve a targeted communication of the added value and of positive externalities (ESs) generated with the maintenance of the dairy production chains in mountain areas.


ID: 562
Workshop & Poster
Upscaling the ecology of Andean Grasslands

Calderon, Sandoval
Utrecht University (UU)– Heidelberglaan 8, 3584 CS Utrecht, Netherlands

Workshop and Poster Abstract:

Tropical Andes hold one of the highest variety of fauna and flora species and its natural and semi-natural ecosystems deliver key ecosystem services to more than 50 million people living in or near the Andean mountain chain. Latest climate models predict a reduction up to -30% in the precipitation in the Central Andes for the coming decades with an increase in the occurrence of extreme climatic events. These events are main drivers of ecosystem functioning, having also an effect in the management strategies, which are implemented to safeguard the economy while adapting to changes in the environment. Studies in the Andes showed that grasslands’ productivity is dominated by a marked seasonal shift in carbon allocation. However, to date, the impact of environmental change on the Andean grassland’s stability has not been evaluated. The aim of this study is to evaluate the changes in the ecosystem’s functioning and land use management of grassland ecosystems at the Central Andes in Bolivia. I will conduct a local assessment of the vegetation dynamics and soil conditions along a gradient of grazing intensity. The results will be upscale to the landscape scale, to evaluate the stability of the ecosystems’ productivity and to provide guidelines for future land use management in face of current changes in the climate. I hypothesise that grasslands at different grazing pressures will show changes in the ecosystem functioning. Next to that I hypothesise that higher biodiversity and functional biodiversity are important factors for stabilizing the studied ecosystems at a spatial landscape scale, which is relevant for future management of grasslands in the region and for the application of new policies that will improved the sustainable management of the Andean Grasslands.



ID: 634
Workshop & Poster
Experiencing Ecosystem Services
Keywords: Ecosystem Services, Communication, Sustainability

Ruedisser, Johannes1; Sarah, Kerle1; Tappeiner, Ulrike1,2
Department of Ecology, University of Innsbruck, Austria; 2Institute for Alpine Environment, Eurac Research, Italy

Workshop Abstract:

The science communication project Experiencing Ecosystem Services, aimed to communicate the concept behind ecosystem services in a comprehensive way to a broader public using simple and attractive methods and tools. It built upon the results of two former research projects on land use changes and related effects on ecosystem services in mountain regions. The projects aim was to develop the world’s first educational walk dealing with ecosystem services in the Alps ( The project was executed by applying a participatory and iterative approach involving both, landscape ecologists engaged in ecosystem service research, and end user including pupils. The educational walk is provided in two complementary ways: as a stationary trail and as a guided tour. The stationary trail, situated in the cultural landscape in Tyrol, Austria, can be explored individually and interactively using a freely available audio guide for smartphones. It includes 11 different stations dealing with ecosystem services in the European Alps. The guided tour is conducted by trained and instructed nature guides using a tool-kit specifically developed for this purpose and can be realized nearly everywhere in the cultural landscape of the European Alps. In both, the stationary trail and the guided tour, the content is presented using interactive and experience-oriented methods. The applied conceptual design and implementation allows addressing and reaching very different target groups (stakeholder, multipliers, residents, tourists, students and pupils) in an effective and cost saving way. Cooperation with a regional environmental education organisation, the tourism association, and the regional environmental authority of the state guarantees the sustainable and long lasting use of the developed materials and tours.


ID: 610
Specific Research Poster
Growth of the tropical Pinus kesiya as influenced by climate and nutrient availability along an elevational gradient
Keywords: pine, dendroecology, soil nutrient, elevational gradient

Ho, Le Tuan; Schneider, Raimund; Thomas, Frank M.
Trier Univesität, Germany

Poster Abstract: 

In contrast to temperate regions, the reasons for growth reductions of individual tree species along elevational gradients in tropical mountain ranges are poorly known, especially for tropical conifers. We analyzed the stem diameter increment and the isotope discrimination against 13C (D13C) in tree rings of Pinus kesiya, a widely distributed pine species of southern and south-eastern Asia, along an elevational gradient of ~900 to ~2000 m a.s.l. in the mountain ranges of South-Central Vietnam, and related growth to D13C and to climatic and edaphic variables. Height and basal area increment (BAI) of P. kesiya decreased significantly across the elevational gradient. In several elevational ranges and for some time periods of the preceding or the current year, the indexed tree-ring widths or BAI were negatively correlated with temperature variables and positively with precipitation, but distinct correlation patterns were not detected. In contrast, across the elevational gradient, we found significantly negative correlations of BAI with D13C and with the C/N ratios and the d15N signature of the upper mineral soil. BAI was positively correlated with the concentrations of plant-available phosphorus and of "base" cations (calcium, magnesium, potassium) in the soil. We conclude that lower temperatures at higher elevations exert an indirect effect on tree growth by reducing the rate of nitrogen and phosphorus mineralization, which may be further hampered by lower concentrations of "base" cations (upon enhanced leaching by precipitation) and a negative feedback from low availability of mineralized N and P at higher elevations. Our results may be transferable until the uppermost growth limit of P. kesiya and to other montane regions of the species' occurrence. Management practices such as prescribed burning should aim at applying techniques that minimize soil erosion and the concomitant leaching of "base" cations and of mineralized N compounds, especially at higher elevations.


ID: 611
Specific Research Poster
Diversity, composition and host-species relationships of epiphytic orchids and ferns in two forests in Nepal
Keywords: Environmental factors; Epiphytes; Large trees; Indicator species; Multivariate and univariate analyses

Adhikari, Yagya,1,6; Fischer, Anton2; Gruppe, Axel3; Fischer, Hagen2; Rokaya, Maan4; Bhattrai, Prakesh5; Jentsch, Anke6; Beierkuhnlein, Carl
1Chair of Biogeography, BayCEER, University of Bayreuth, Universitätsstr. 30, 95447 Bayreuth, Germany; 2Geobotany, Department of Ecology and Ecosystem Management, Technische Universität München, Hans-Carl-von-Carlowitz-Platz 2, 85354 Freising, Germany; 3Zoology - Entomology, Department of Animal Science, Technische Universität München, Hans-Carl-von-Carlowitz-Platz 2, 85354 Freising, Germany; 4Geobotany, Department of Ecology and Ecosystem Management, Technische Universität München, Hans-Carl-von-Carlowitz-Platz 2, 85354 Freising, Germany; 5Department of Biology, University of Bergen, Postboks 7803, N-5020 Bergen, Norway; 6Disturbance Ecology University of Bayreuth, Germany

Poster Abstract:

Epiphytic plant species are an important part of biological diversity. It is therefore essential to understand the distribution pattern and the factors influencing such patterns. The present study is aimed at observing the patterns of species richness, abundances and species composition of epiphytic orchids and ferns in two subtropical forests in Nepal. We also studied the relationship of host plants (Schima wallichii and Quercus lanata) and epiphyte species. Data were collected in Naudhara community forest (CF) and the national forest (NF) in Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park. The data were analyzed using univariate and multivariate tests. In total, we recorded 41 species of epiphytes (33 orchid and 8 fern species). Orchid species abundance is significantly higher in CF compared to NF. Orchid species richness and abundance increased with increasing southern aspect whereas it decreased with increasing canopy cover, and fern species richness increased with host bark roughness. Orchid abundance was positively correlated with increasing bark pH, stem size, tree age and tree height and negatively correlated with increasing steepness of the area. Likewise, fern abundances were high in places with high canopy cover, trees that were tall and big, but decreased with increasing altitude and southern aspect. The composition of the orchid and fern species was affected by altitude, aspect, canopy cover, DBH, number of forks and forest management types. The most important pre-requisite for a high epiphyte biodiversity is the presence of old tall trees, independent of the recent protection status. This means: (i) for protection, e.g. in the frame of the national park declaration, such areas should be used which host such old tall trees; and (ii) also in managed forests and even in intensively used landscapes epiphytes can be protected by letting a certain number of trees be and by giving them space to grow old and tall.


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