Integration of ecosystem services in regional spatial plans in Western Switzerland

The concept of ecosystem services (ES) is regarded as an increasingly important framework and tool to support spatial planning. A limited understanding of how ES knowledge is used in spatial plans constrains our ability to learn from, replicate, and convey an ES approach. This study examined how ES were integrated into spatial planning at the regional scale in Western Switzerland. A directed content analysis of cantonal structural plans was used to assess how ES were covered in various sections of the plans and to explore the differences in the level of ES integration across cantons. First, the results showed that ES were found in each section of the plans but were not equally distributed. Provisioning ES were always the most mentioned while regulating ES were the least considered. Second, strong discrepancies existed between cantons may demonstrate the lack of cantonal coordination to integrate ES. Finally, the concept of ES was more embedded in nonbinding than in binding parts. Promoting the concept at the national level may facilitate the integration of ES at lower planning scales. Further work could focus on other cantons to ensure that the results are fully representative of the current situation in Switzerland.

Published in:
Sustainability, 11, 2, 313
Jan 09 2019

 Record created 2018-12-11, last modified 2019-06-19

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