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21-23 MARCH 2017

Final OpenNESS Annual Meeting in Smolenice, Slovakia

Witnessing the benefits of ecosystem services

The benefits of a rich biodiversity and a healthy, functioning, ecosystem are not always obvious. However, that wasn’t the case at Loch Leven, Kinross, Scotland, this week when the largest brown trout in more than 100 years was landed. This historic event coincided perfectly with the OpenNESS - OPERAs meeting at the site to discuss the benefits of ecosystem services.

This record catch reflects improvements in the biological health of the lake due to reductions in phosphorus pollution from surrounding industry, sewage and agriculture. Other evidence includes lower concentrations of nitrates, fewer algal blooms, the return of sensitive plant species, and an increase in aquatic birds. News of improved angling at Loch Leven has been spreading across the world in recent years and this record catch is likely to attract even more visitors to the area, with consequent economic benefits to the fishery and local hotels.

The benefits of managing ecosystem services better are precisely what the meeting in Kinross was focused on. Project teams from two major EU-funded research projects on this topic, OpenNESS and OPERAs, were discussing how to ensure that scientific knowledge on ecosystem services and natural capital is used by land managers, businessmen and policymakers to generate sustained benefits for society and for the economy. One area of collaboration between the projects will be a joint pool of 35 case studies across the globe. The Loch Leven case study in the OpenNESS project will complement the ’Scotland’-level case study in the OPERAs project.

For further information:

Loch Leven fisheries: http://lochlevenfisheries.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/loch-leven-record-smashed

OpenNESS: Prof Eeva Furman, Finnish Environment Institute (http://www.openness-project.eu/node/6)

OPERAs: Prof. Mark Rounsevell, University of Edinburgh (http://www.operas-project.eu/operas/contact.html)

Photo: http://lochlevenfisheries.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/loch-leven-record-smashed/