LINKing  systems, perspectives and disciplines for Active biodiversity GovernancE (LINKAGE)

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LINKAGE is a research project funded within the Polish-Norwegian Research Programme (coordinated by the National Centre for Research and Development). The project is conducted by the Institute of Nature Conservation of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS) in Kraków, the PAS Mammal Research Institute in Białowieża, the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, and the University of Tromsø (Norwegian partner).

The major aim of the LINKAGE project is to improve biodiversity governance in Poland and Norway by creating and developing innovative decision-making techniques based on PP GIS (Public Participatory Geographic Information System). PP GIS is a relatively new but dynamically developing (mainly outside Europe) approach to spatial information collection based on the wide public participation of the interested parties.

The project objectives are as follows: (1) development and testing of new solutions (techniques) for identifying and mapping ecosystem services (i.e. all benefits derived by people from the environment), (2) identification of ecosystem services, landscape and space values acknowledged by various interest groups, (3) assessment of governance implications (concerning landscape and protected areas) brought about by connecting perspectives, knowledge, and views of different interest groups, (4) assessment of the impact of participatory planning on the empowerment and engagement of non-state actors in biodiversity governance, (5) assessment of the effectiveness of Internet tools (Web 2.0) and other methods to increase public participation (particularly PP GIS) in identifying and measuring ecosystem services, (6) identification of barriers to the practical and widespread use of the tested techniques and tools, and potential solutions to overcome them.

Research within the LINKAGE project will be conducted simultaneously in Poland and Norway. Internet-based PP GIS will be used in Norway, where the research will cover two areas (aimed to be case studies). In Poland, the internet-based technique will be tested on one of the study areas, whereas the main part of the research (performed in three study areas, i.e. selected Natura 2000 sites and neighbouring areas) will be conducted using meetings and group interviews.