Research strategy

Research Key hypothesesMethodology Research SchemeExpected results

The overall TRUSTEE research objective is to advance the understanding of the relationships between economic development and ecosystem services.

  • The research key hypotheses are:

1) The dichotomy between rural and urban areas includes a wide range of diverse situations. The relative position of an area within an urban system, its form, and the intensity of its exchanges all impact its economic development.

2) Drivers of land use change, among agricultural, developed, and preserved areas, combine urban-rural interactions with global factors (e.g., new diets, trade), which, in turn, affect ecosystem services.

3) Characteristics of available ecosystem services can influence area development, particularly in the periphery.

4) Socio-economic drivers should be used to project future trends of ecosystem services.

5) We will consider, as much as possible, phenomena at multiple spatial scales, from local to global, and we will also consider interactions between various levels.

6) Market mechanisms, public policies, and governance tools are the central drivers. Rather than choose an a priori position on the relative efficiency of sector-based, place-based, and place-tailored policies, we will contribute to the debate by observing different policy designs and providing policy recommendations.

  • Methodology

The research is split in seven work packages : WP1– Discribing diversity of rural and suburban areas; WP2– Global- and EU-wide analyses of land use; WP3– Rural development and cohesion policies; WP4- Composition and distribution of ecosystem services sets; WP5– Economic development and ecosystem services; WP6– Feedback and policy design; and WP7– Validation, training, and consensus building.

The work packages are separated by their knowledge domains and their spatial-temporal scales. WP1 gathers and structures all the data needed to capture the diversity of rural situations. It articulates between the different scales of governance, from local to global. It provides inputs for WP2-6. WP2 focuses on exogenous drivers of land use dynamics at different scales. It provides the framework for WP3, which evaluates human capital impacts on economic development in peripheral areas, taking into account local economic structure. It evaluates the implementation and impact of rural development policies. Materials produced in WP3, such as socio-economic indicators, and quantitative and qualitative explanations of economic mechanisms, provide inputs for WP4, WP5 and WP7. WP4 deals with the characterisation and modelling of the distribution of ecosystem services at different spatial (from local to national) and temporal (current and future) scales. WP5 uses starting point inputs from WP3 and WP4 to explore specific links between economic development and ecosystem services bundles. WP6 revisits policy concerns by examining potential impacts to specific objectives and investigating how policymakers can use the effects from earlier programs to design new ones. WP7 is a transverse action that will be based on the outputs of most WPs and which will play a federative role to create synergy among resaerchers, experts, and stakeholders.

  • Research scheme

WP copie

  • Expected results

TRUSTEE will provide a first quantification of the many–to-many relationship between ecosystem services and economic development. Such quantification will take into account rural diversity and articulate different spatial scales. Scientific breakthrough is expected through the impulse of our multidisciplinary consortium sharing a common motivation, but also by the cross-cutting strategy linking analyses at various scales. In particular, the exploration of ecosystem services will produce new vision of ecosystem services bundles and new indicators of ecosystem health based on common bird communities. Along with these general findings, we will also produce (i) the first large scale inventory of the socioeconomic and policy drivers of ecosystem services bundles, (ii) the first large scale assessment of unlocking ecosystem services potential for rural economic development and (iii) a first attempt to internalize ecosystem services in models of economic development. TRUSTEE will also produce analytical tools incorporating scenarios and policy instruments, in order to assess ecosystem services and their impact on rural development. Some methodological progresses are expected in the field of: (i) geographical modelling (urban form mapping), (ii) econometric tools for ex-post assessment of policy measures and for land use conversion, (iii) new indicators for ecosystem health. Last, TRUSTEE will build capacity for interaction between a broad range of academics, experts, stakeholders and policy makers. This output will not only be the result of an appropriate dissemination plan and will also rely on workshops (training and consensus building) in which stakeholders will be full involved.