Society uses a variety of services that natural ecosystems provide, such as clean water, an attractive landscape for recreational purposes, food, or renewable energy sources. Many of these so-called ecosystem services (ESS) are influenced by humans. These include, for example, agricultural activities or the construction of roads. As a consequence, society regulates human actions and thus indirectly the availability of ESS. Examples of such policies are agri-environmental programs or local land use planning.
The Citizen Science project ServeToPe develops methods to better quantify the demand for ESS and their availability in a landscape. ServeToPe thus aims to contribute to more sustainable management of ESS and more targeted policies that focus on people's needs. ServeToPe is thereby based in the biosphere reserve Wienerwald as a case study region.
ServeToPe mainly aims to answer the following research questions.
ServeToPe will reveal mismatches between the demand for ESS and their supply and will propose countermeasures. An example of this could be regional conservation efforts specifically planned for the landscape.
ServeToPe uses a variety of methods to answer the research questions and to involve as many and as diverse citizens as possible. For example, workshops were held in schools or with citizens from the region. All citizens can participate online via a survey (see below). On the project website you can find more information about the methods and the roles of citizens (in German).
Citizens are important research partners in ServeToPe. In particular, they support the visualization and quantification of the demand for ESS and of conflicting goals and trade-offs of between different ESS. A trade-off exists, for example, when several citizens want to use the same area for different purposes resulting in conflicts (e.g. recreational use and food production). You as citizen can therefore make an important contribution to the research project by participating in the following anonymous surveys.
In the main survey you can (1) enter your own activities and uses of ESS in the Wienerwald, (2) enter and locate frequently observed activities and ESS uses, and (3) identify trade-offs and opportunities for improvement. You can also upload pictures for this purpose. The main survey can be filled in only once.
However, you can also participate more regularly and thereby support ServeToPe even more intensively. This is possible via a second short survey, where you can enter and locate observed activities and ESS uses, as well as trade-offs. A picture upload is also possible here. In this short second survey, you can participate repeatedly over the entire duration of the project - i.e. continuously enter your observations. This gives us an even more accurate representation of uses and activities. You as a citizen scientist gain the opportunity to locate multiple uses and activities in areas and therefore identify multiple and more accurate trade-offs and improvements.
The results from the surveys of activities, uses, and trade-offs in the Wienerwald are compiled by the BOKU Vienna and University of Vienna research team and compared with other data on the supply of ESS (see methodology). These results are then published on the ServeToPe website. You can also sign up in our contact form to receive the results via email.
Afterwards, the results are presented to stakeholders from the region (e.g.: Employees of the administration, representatives from agriculture, nature conservation, recreational use, education and regional management) in a workshop. In this workshop, solutions and countermeasures will be developed based on the identified trade-offs and conflicts due to differences in ESS supply and demand.