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How intact ecosystems improve our quality of life

Forests protect us against avalanches, landslides and rock falls. Planken/LI © Norman Nigsch

Nature provides us with enormous benefits. The AlpES project draws on the concept of ecosystem services in order to record these in the Alpine regions and increase their appreciation.

Springs that provide clean drinking water, trees that ensure a pleasant microclimate in the city, or simply the views of a landscape that prompts us to dream – all of these goods and services can be categorised under the concept of ecosystem services. In the Alpine space too, ecosystem services make a significant contribution to the local quality of life. The AlpES project is devoted to Alpine ecosystem services and aims to strengthen their importance and appreciation in regional and trans-national environmental policies. This aim is currently being implemented in certain selected test regions. In Liechtenstein one focus is on the protective function of forests against avalanches, mudslides and rock falls. Heike Summer of Liechtenstein’s Office for the Environment highlights the particular importance of this ecosystem service for the Principality: «A large proportion of our forests are located on hillsides. Intact protective forests therefore make an indispensable contribution to reducing the potential for damage, both in the Rhine Valley and in mountain regions, as well as reducing the need to construct additional technical measures.» The experiences and results from Liechtenstein and other Alpine regions will next be collected and fed into a WebGIS. AlpES is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund via the INTERREG Alpine Space programme. CIPRA is responsible for the project’s external communications on behalf of the Office for the Environment and Land Management of the Principality of Liechtenstein.

 

Sources and further information:

www.alpine-space.eu/projects/alpes, www.alpes-webgis.eu

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