The team of the “Life Viva Grass” project presents the Integrated Planning Tool developed by the project. It gives an opportunity to see the benefits that grasslands provide for people from different perspectives and highlights grassland ecosystem services. The concept of ecosystem services is very newly introduced in the Baltic countries – it is the first time, when such ecosystem service assessment of a specific ecosystem is being performed.The Integrated Planning Tool has three applications – two of them are open for public use, while one of them is devoted for professionals and requires registration.
“The tool works GIS-based (geographic information system) and incorporates ecosystem services while giving the ability to look at the benefits of grasslands from various angles. In one case, you can study different ecosystem services of different types of grasslands and compare neighboring grasslands; in another case particular ecosystem service can be highlighted (e.g. bioenergy or hay production potential) and related information is given; furthermore, the user can assign the desired value to each ecosystem service and create a priority map of the most valuable grasslands and use it in spatial planning processes” – Justas Gulbinas, one of the authors from the Baltic Environmental Forum, tells about the tool.
The aim of this planning tool is to to ease decision making for sustainable grassland management by strengthening the interlinks between social, economic, environmental and agricultural factors and policies.
You find three applications of the Integrated Planning Tool: i) the „Vivagrass Viewer“ is an application dedicated to increase public’s awareness about ecosystem services of grasslands and it’s assessment; „Vivagrass Bio-Energy“ is an application dedicated to evaluate the possibility of grassland biomass use for heating; the „Vivagrass Planner“ is a restricted-use application for professional users enabling them to insert additional data and do a more comprehensive analysis of grasslands.
|„Vivagrass Viewer“||„Vivagrass Bio Energy“||„Vivagrass Planner“|
|Open use for the public||Open use for the public||Registration is needed.
Please, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications automatically calculate ecosystem services of grasslands in demo areas according to various criteria set by the authors. We included 9 demo areas from the three Baltic states. Currently, you can test the demo versions of all applications. However, they will still be improved during this year to incorporate feedback from different stakeholders.
The project team will hold in spring several seminars on how to use the Integrated Planning Tool and its applications. All functions of the Tool will be presented there.
“We hope that in future we will be able to apply this to evaluate ecosystem services of other ecosystems (e.g. forests)” – says Justas Gulbinas.
The assessment of ecosystem services is being introduced all over the European Union (further EU). By the year 2020 all EU member states must integrate the economic values of ecosystem services into their accounting and reporting systems. Such assessment could be implemented with help of a variety of technological tools. We think our VivaGrass Tool is one of them.
If you have any questions or feedback about the VivaGrass Integrated Planning Tool, please, do not hesitate to contact project team via e-mail: email@example.com.