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Transformative change in spatial planning can enhance biodiversity

The BioValue EU-funded project explores the transformative potential of spatial planning to invert the trend of biodiversity loss.

The EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 calls for an integrated and whole-of-society approach to ensure co-responsibility and co-ownership by all relevant actors in meeting the EU’s biodiversity commitments. As biodiversity is impacted by many different sectors, the main challenge consists in balancing a wide range of interests and value systems across different political levels, negotiating different interests while ultimately seeking to improve, or at least maintain, biodiversity. This challenge is hard to achieve and there is increasing agreement on the need for transformative change.

Transformative change is a fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic, and social factors, including paradigms, goals, and values, as defined by the 2020 report of the Intergovernmental science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).


The EU-funded project BioValue takes this definition as a point of departure to explore the transformative potential of spatial planning to invert current trends of biodiversity loss, enhancing the recognition of biodiversity value while setting trajectories toward meeting sustainable development goals. BioValue leverages transformative change by articulating a research framework based on three instrumental perspectives – spatial planning, environmental assessment, and economic and financing instruments. BioValue framework is also tested in three case studies, that are defined as “Arenas for transformation”: Rewetting Peatlands and reforestation under the climate initiative in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Germany); Municipal spatial planning in Mafra (Portugal); and Urban planning in Trento (Italy).


In September, BioValue partners gathered in Lisbon to kick off the project. The project coordinator, Maria Rosario Partidario from Instituto Superior Técnico -University of Lisbon, stated: “BioValue faces a very challenging and complex topic, but from the discussions, we had during the kick-off meeting I have big expectations for BioValue. The ambition is to suggest improvements to current policy practices that can transform the way spatial planning and policy are affecting biodiversity in Europe, moving from a casuistic decision mode to a much more strategic and integrated approach”.


Marta Dutschmann – Municipal Councillor of Mafra, one of the three case study areas, highlighted: “Mafra Municipality is a sustainable tourism destination since 2022, distinguished by its biodiversity that spreads over a territory of 300 Km2. It includes the Ericeira World Surfing Reserve, the first in Europe, and the second in the world, and the largest natural park within walls, the Tapada of Mafra, a World Heritage Site. Through the promotion of biodiversity in the spatial planning processes that are already ongoing, we will be able to preserve our natural identity that represents a strategic competitive factor for the area”.


BioValue project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No 101060790.

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