dissertation Clara Veerkamp – Advancing model-based ecosystem services assessments for policy support

May 23, 2024 | News

On Monday 22th April Clara Veerkamp defended her dissertation ‘Advancing model-based ecosystem services assessments for policy support’ at Radboud University in Nijmegen.

In her dissertation, Clara Veerkamp examined broad-scale model-based assessments to quantify ecosystem services for policy support. Among other things, she concludes that modeling multiple ecosystem services provides insight into the diversity of nature’s values and shows the potential for positive relationships between different ecosystem services. In addition, she recommends broadening the selection of relevant ecosystem services.

Nature and biodiversity are declining and degrading globally, threatening livelihoods, economies and human well-being. Ecosystem services are the benefits people obtain from nature, such as food supply, climate regulation, or physical and mental health benefits through contact with nature. To quantify these ecosystem services, spatial models are essential.

The thesis aims is to advance broad-scale model-based ecosystem services assessments for policy support by developing and applying quantitative models for multiple ecosystem services, with a focus on the urban environment. In addition, it explored approaches to account for model uncertainty in ecosystem services assessments.

In her thesis, Clara used the GLOBIO modelling framework, to assess biodiversity and multiple ecosystem services in urban and rural areas. To assess ecosystem services in urban environments, Clara’s works builds upon various models, such as the urban InVEST models and Natural Capital Model as well as developed new modules for GLOBIO-ES.

Among other things, Clara shows that integrating the supply and demand for ecosystem services helps to identify shortages (unmet demand) as well as the contribution of nature to addressing societal challenges. Further, Clara shows that model comparisons are a valuable approach to identify model uncertainties, quantify them and identify the sources of uncertainties. Assessments based on multiple models makes outcomes robust. This approach should become a standard practice in model-based assessments of ecosystem services.

dissertation Clara Veerkamp – Advancing model-based ecosystem services assessments for policy support