About this good practice
The project “Integrated planning tool to ensure viability of grasslands” (acronym – LIFE Viva Grass) aims to prevent the loss of High Nature Value grasslands and increase the effectiveness of seminatural grassland management by developing the Integrated Planning Tool (Tool). The Tool applies the ecosystem services approach to support decision making and land use planning by strengthening linkages between social, economic, environmental aspects in rural development policies and grassland management. The project also demonstrates opportunities for the multifunctional
use of grasslands’ ecosystem services as a basis for the sustainable development of rural areas. The LIFE Viva Grass was implemented in the three Baltic States demonstrating the integrated planning solutions for sustainable grassland management and application of the Viva Grass tool in 9 case study areas (two farms, four municipalities, two protected areas and one county). The Tool was implemented by 16 partners including NGOs, scientific institutions, IT company, local authorities, and protected areas administrations. The project was led by the Baltic Environmental Forum – Lithuania.
The total (spent) budget of the LIFE Viva Grass project: 2 650 756€
The direct costs of the action on development of the Tool: 342 696€ (including ~ 297 000 € for personnel, ~15 000 € for equipment and some other minor costs for travel and external assistance).
Evidence of success
The Tool is tested in nine case study areas across the three Baltic States (two farms, four municipalities, two protected areas and one county), each of them having a different spatial and thematic scale, as well as different data availability. It provides an assessment of the agro-ecosystem service potential within the entire area of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Thus, the tool demonstrates the applicability of ecosystem services related information at different planning scales and contexts.
Potential for learning or transfer
The potential of learning about the Tool and its application is ensured by a set of teaching materials available at the project’s home page in the sections “Tool” and “Self-learning platform”.
Although, the Tool was developed and applied on the territory of the three Baltic States, this is possible to calculate ecosystem services’ values of agro-ecosystems in an automated way. Technically, the Tool is not territory bound, which means that it can be adapted to any other country outside the Baltics, given that the required data is available. Data sets used in the calculation of ecosystem services include land quality assessment index, historical soil maps specific for the Eastern Europe, digital elevation model (Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data) and IACS (Integrated Administration andControl System) data. Therefore, transferability of the Tool to other countries/regions is limited by the availability of those data sets.