5 years ago

The Green Belt as a European Ecological Network strengths and gaps

The Green Belt as a European Ecological Network strengths and gaps

Cheryl de Boer, Hans

Cheryl de Boer, Hans Bressers RIVER RENATURALIZATION AS A STRATEGY FOR ECOLOGICAL NETWORKS some neighbours, they made a deal with an adjacent farmer who was unsatisfied with his lands and wanted to move to another Province to have more space to expand. The Waterboard had initially planned on having to contribute a fair renting price for the use of the grounds to store their sludge. This new opportunity however enabled them to pool their available funds with that of a nature development fund to purchase the complete farm and use the grounds for a few years as storage. Figure 1, Tatums project, directly after completion (Source: Photo Holland) Following their period of use of this land, a portion of it was exchanged for land near the Regge that could be used directly for the project. In addition to this, the state agency that buys lands on behalf of Dutch governments (DLG), was in possession of a farmhouse and a few sheds in the area. These were considered (too) expensive to keep and thus they wanted to re-sell them as soon as possible. The Waterboard staff discovered that a local inhabitant wanted to start a goat farm and was interested in these lands and buildings since the stable was far better for that purpose than his own was. This man’s old farm house near the Regge was then taken by someone for whom it was a better place to keep young cattle. Further, that farmer’s old place was then taken by someone who trades and renovates motors from all over the world. These dynamics all started with the first buy out and led to people being relocated to areas where their surroundings were more appropriate for their individual interests and activities. The only thing that the project manager had to do was to keep closely in touch with what people in the area had as interests. Such interests are not seen as potential obstacles to be dealt with in a defensive manner, but as potential opportunities. That was a lesson well taken. The Municipality and Landscape Overijssel cooperated in adding a bicycle path complete with a bridge over the Regge in the area. The path attracted many more recreational visitors, and the bridge also allowed a more convenient connection of two small villages 100

Cheryl de Boer, Hans Bressers RIVER RENATURALIZATION AS A STRATEGY FOR ECOLOGICAL NETWORKS across the Regge, contributing to the “basis” of good will among the nearby inhabitants, which then viewed the project with more interest and mildness. The increased numbers of visitors made one of the nearby farmers decide to start a tea-house with a tin museum which now provides the major source of income, and attracts coach buses full of senior citizens. The project team involves the tea house in occasional presentations of the project and stimulates cooperation between the new activities, e.g. having visitors of the tea-house visiting the goat farm as well. The farmer with young cattle now has them grazing in the Regge plain meadows in accordance with Landscape Overijssel’s guidelines. When the pastures became too large for his cattle, he arranged for a colleague to fill the capacity. This chain reaction did not only enable the Waterboard and Landscape Overijssel to get all the grounds they needed, but also diversified the rural economy with recreation facilities, special goat farming, enabling cattle to graze as maintenance for the nature (instead of maximizing production), and providing space for a small workplace. 5 STRATEGIES FOR CREATING GREENBELT LINKAGES IN DENSE AREAS An important principle illustrated above is that by including actors outside of those with a clear geographical, judiciary or financial link, implementation can develop incrementally and become responsive to a great variety of local circumstances. Expressed more strongly: without such an adaptive approach it is unlikely that progress would have occurred at all. An essential feature observed in all of the Regge projects is the coupling of several goals stemming from various policies and stakeholder’s interests. This can in fact be very productive because competing claims for land use need not always be mutually exclusive. Collecting the multiple policies, multiple institutional arenas, actor constellations and other governance contexts into the “inter-regime”, allows for a better understanding of the experienced influence of the external context. When the goals are similar, overlapping, mutually reinforcing or even unrelated, important synergies can be discovered. For instance, Landscape Overijssel accepts that the main priorities of the project are often related to water, landscape and recreation development, and are confident that nature development will follow as a result of improvements in the other three. It is accepted by the organisations involved that the development of these synergistic projects can also require some trade off and compromises. This is not seen as a competing concern since the resulting package as a whole can end up providing more than what would otherwise have been possible due to the existence of unanticipated (yet often experienced) hurdles throughout the implementation process. All actors involved, such as the Waterboard, Landscape Overijssel, the Province and the municipalities have learned that rooting your organization too heavily in the beginning to your own goals strongly hinders your ability to participate fully in the process. A wealth of strategies have been used in the Regge projects to prepare and modify the direct context of the process, including the institutional arena, the actor constellation and the characteristics (motivation, cognitions and resources) of the actors involved, to increase the likelihood of productive processes. These strategies have been used in various, multiple and indirect ways. Proactive, responsive and reactive use of such strategies was also discerned. Here we list a number which we saw to be used in several situations: 101

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