Project partners from ten institutions travelled from six different Alpine countries to Innsbruck, where the second project meeting in the AlpES project took place. The AlpES project aims to introduce ecosystem services (ES) as a regional/transnational environmental governance framework and train and support the AlpES target groups in understanding, valuing and managing them. Essential to reach this goal is to develop a common understanding on ecosystem services.
For 2 days project partners presented and discussed the results from the last 6 months on a range of topics, including an Alpine ES concept, the mapping and assessment of ES indicators, the WebGIS and WIKIAlps, and a capacity building model. The AlpES team from IGF/ÖAW presented a first prototype of the AlpES WebGIS. This WebGIS is an interactive and interoperable tool through which ecosystem services indicators and its metadata will be made available. An important role in the project meeting was played by the AlpES observers, i.a. the Environment Agency Austria, the WWF and the Permanent Secretariat for the Alpine Convention, who gave the project partners useful advice on how to proceed with the project. Two days full of presentations and fruitful discussions showed that important steps have been taken towards developing an environmental governance framework and establishing a common understanding on ecosystem services within the AlpES partnership, but also that there is still plenty of work to do in the next two years.
Besides all the hard work, there was time to enjoy the old city of Innsbruck. Axel Borsdorf guided project participants on an evening city tour, telling interesting stories about the history of Innsbruck and showing some (of the less known) highlights of the old city, including the Geography Column at the Waltherpark. After the city tour, the project participants enjoyed dinner, organized at the Botanical Garden, and visited its glass house.
The project Alpine Ecosystem Services - mapping, maintenance, management (AlpES), co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Interreg Alpine Space programme, runs from December 2015 until December 2018.