What are ecosystem services? What is innovation? What does innovating in ecosystem services mean? This year ECOSTAR launched the second edition of our e-learning course “Ecosystem services entrepreneurship: from ideas to business”. More than 50 participants from all around the world highlighted examples of innovation in the sector, thus creating an interesting debate around two main themes…. find out more!
What is an ecosystem service?
Ecosystem services are the conditions and processes through which natural ecosystems, and the species that make them up, sustain and fulfil human life. They maintain biodiversity and the production of ecosystem goods (Daily, 1997)
Ecosystem services ensure our survival as a species as well as underpinning our economic systems. But many of these ecosystem services do not factor into our economic decisions. As a result, they have been traditionally undervalued as critical inputs to our economies and wellbeing. But as our understanding of business and societal dependence grows, opportunities will increase for those who are able to innovate to enhance the provision of ecosystem services.
What is innovation?
Innovation is generally described as being incremental – the improvement of existing knowledge and applying it to enhance the exploitation of existing products and services, and radical – completely uprooting existing conventions, altering the knowledge base and changing markets, products and services. Our focus is on those innovations which conserve the natural world but also provide a viable business model. We will explore these innovations by using the concept of ecosystem services.
ECOSYSTEM SERVICES INNOVATION IN ITALY
1) SIMULSOIL by Mariangela S.
Territorial support software “Simulsoil” which aims to develop a digital simulator to ensure good land use planning; or to promote land use decisions that help reduce the use of soil and the preservation of its ecosystem functions. Find out more www.sam4cp.eu/en/simulsoil
2) BOSCO LIMITE by Mauro D. V.
The aim is to improve water recharge near Brenta River. However, other benefits include the usability of the area and the possibility to use it for reactional and environmental educational purposes. It also provides positive externalities in improving biodiversity and in the mitigation of climate change, in the reduction of pollution and the possibility of using the area for bike tourism excursions and horse riding.
Find out more www.boscolimite.it
3) PROGETTO INTEGRATO FUSINA by Giovanni R.
Is a project situated on the land near Venice with the following three purposes:
1: reducing the pollution generated in the drainage basin of the Venice lagoon;
2: reducing the pollution of the sites of Porto Marghera (an industrial area near Venice);
3: optimizing the management of water resources by implementing recycling of the water used for industrial purposes.
Find out more www.regione.veneto.it
4) NATURAL ENGINEERING by Giulia D.F.
I would like to describe a method of special innovation to fight the soil erosion and consequently also the floods.
This method is part of the regulations services and it is the “Natural Engineering”, which is usually used in the mountains in Veneto, idem for the other Regions.
I think that it could be an example of innovation or, in this case, an alternative method because you can use natural material to produce an environmentally sustainable and naturalistic project instead of methods with big huge.
Find out more www.bettafranco.it
5) SCALE DI NAPOLI by Mariasofia T.
My example is linked to ecosystem services existing in urban spaces, since its aim is to reduce CO2 emissions produced by cars. It is a very simple idea and the project’s name is “Scale di Napoli”. It is a bottom up project related to sustainable mobility. The main purpose is to support pedestrian mobility instead of the use of cars.
Find out more www.scaledinapoli.com
6) FENICE GREEN ENERGY PARK by Filippo R.
Fenice Green Energy Park is the result of a collaboration between a group of scouts and the Industrial Zone of Padua and focuses on green energy, sustainability and new technologies. It is a training center for professionals and transfers scientific knowledge to the schools who visit the park.
Find out more www.fondazionefenice.it
7) BOSCO VERTICALE by Andrea B.P.
I would like to focus on Bosco Verticale by the Italian Architect Stefano Boeri because I see in it as an interesting innovation example in the field of ecosystem services.
Problem. Trees provide us with so many benefits because they filter air, water, sunlight andthey provide shelter to animals and recreational areas for people: on the other hand it is not always easy to find a free spot in a metropolitan area to plant a tree.
Find out more www.stefanoboeriarchitetti.net
8) ECOPAY CONNECT by Giorgia B.
The project I have chosen is named Ecopay-Connect Oglio Sud. Its aim is to strengthen the ecological corridor in the natural park Oglio Sud (Lombardy region, Italy), helping the conservation of the biodiversity at a local and sub-regional scale.
Find out more it.fsc.org/it-it/progetti/ecopay-connect-2020
9) GEOLANA COMPANY by Sara M.
I’d like to talk about a local company called Geolana http://www.geowool.com/index.php/en/, based in Sardinia, that has given us two of the most abundant natural resources in Sardinia (sheep and woodlands) as a basis for its production processes, using innovative technologies targeted at emerging bio-based markets.
Find out morewww.geowool.com
10) AGROFORESTRY IN ITALY by Benedetto R.
My focus was on an innovation model in the agroforestry field. By definition, agroforestry practices have the potential to be regenerative, improve and increase ecosystem services at the local and landscape level, while at the same time they operate to enhance farming productivity and profitability (EIP-AGRI, 2017).
Find out more www.blueforestconservation.com
*ECOSTAR is an Impact Hub that promotes the start-up and acceleration of new business initiatives with a positive impact on environment and society.
And it is also a Research-Business alliance that links universities and companies, providing networking and market-oriented training. Find out more www.ecostarhub.com/about-us