Cooperative Participatory Evaluation of Renewable Technologies on Ecosystem Services (CORPORATES).

Lead Research Organisation: University of Aberdeen
Department Name: Inst of Biological and Environmental Sci

Abstract

Driven by ambitious, legally binding targets for increased use of renewable energy, the expansion of offshore wind energy has become a key policy issue in the UK, and is attracting substantial investment from businesses. However, the use of large areas of the sea for wind farms can impact on marine ecosystems and on the many species that depend on these ecosystems, from sandeels to seabirds, and the important services these ecosystems provide, such as fisheries and recreation. As a result, many stakeholders might be affected by new wind farms, including commercial, government, nature conservation and community interests. Depending on where wind farms are located, different trade-offs between these benefits will need to be made. Ecological researchers have developed oceanographic models that can predict how the addition of 100s of large gravity based windmills will change the movement and accumulation patterns of bottom sediment and in what locations there will be hydrographic changes sufficient to affect the amount of plankton (the base of the marine food chain) produced. From previous research, we can predict the consequential changes in the distributions of sandeels, seabirds and marine mammals.
Economists and social scientists have developed ways of assimilating ecological evidence to assess the ecosystem services impacts on stakeholders of large scale changes, such as in agricultural practices (Bateman et al. 2013 Science 341:45-50). Together they evaluate how changes in ecosystem services in terrestrial settings are viewed socially, culturally, economically and legally. However, in the marine environment, and because of the infancy of large offshore developments, marine renewable energy industries do not currently have an established or standardised process to evaluate the ecological, economic and cultural trade-offs inherent in alternative locations of offshore windfarms.
This project brings together leading ecological, economic, social-cultural, and legal experts from the University of Aberdeen, the Scottish Association for Marine Science, the James Hutton Institute and Marine Scotland Science with 3 marine renewable energy companies; Seagreen, Repsol & MainStream RP. Together, this group will co-develop a decision-support system to assess large scale changes in ecosystem services in the marine environment. Using a case study of the wider Firth of Forth, Scotland, where there are plans for a Marine Protected Area in the same location as the windfarms, these partners will bring together a wide range of stakeholders (fishing industry, marine wildlife NGOs, local community leaders and environmental businesses) to map out different types of evidence, discuss their different and shared values and evaluate different spatial wind farm scenarios to inform decisions. At the core of the projects there will be 2 workshops; the first of which uses the rich amount of existing data for this area to develop a common understanding of the social-ecological system. The 2nd will explore ecosystem service trade-offs under different wind turbine configuration scenarios. This project will facilitate the rare opportunity of providing the interaction needed to enhance business's and stakeholder's understanding of ecosystem services in the context of a real situation at just the right time for immediate implementation.
The CORPORATES project will produce a user's guide on how to run this process, so that it can become a standardised tool for the industry. This can bring substantial benefits to industry, as business plans can be better aligned to different stakeholder interests and communal values, increasing support for plans, reducing the risk of conflict and improving the reputation of the company. The project will also help businesses take better account and understanding of the value of the many services that ecosystems provide us and the benefits they bring to human wellbeing, leading to more sustainable use of the marine environment.

Planned Impact

Who will benefit from this research?
This project will enhance planning and decision-making in the marine environment, with particular relevance to the marine renewable energy industries (MREI) through better understanding of how decision makers and stakeholders perceive trade-offs between ecological, economic and socio-cultural values of biodiversity and ecosystem services (ES). Taking stakeholder priorities and perceived ES trade-offs into account will ultimately be beneficial to MREI development and policy implementation, as it will reduce risk of conflicts and resistance to the development of marine renewable energy. Therefore this project will directly benefit the following range of groups:

Energy Industry: Marine Renewable Energy Industry (reduce risk of conflict)
Marine Businesses: Fishing Industry, Tourism (increase understanding of spatial ES)
Policy: Government Regulators, Government Advisors, Policy-makers (national and international) (increase certainty in planning and defining policy)
Legislative implementation: Law (bring clarity to economic trade-offs between ocean users)
Society /Stakeholders: NGOs, local government, environmental consultants (bring clearer understanding of ecosystem services trade-offs)
Researchers: Social, Ecological, Anthropological, Methodology (understanding service flows from marine biodiversity)

How will they benefit from this research?
There is a clear demand for a framework that balances ease of application with the ability to deal with complex social-economic-ecological issues. A decision-support tool that incorporates stakeholder valuation of measurable ecological changes and enabling effective deliberations can enhance Business, Policy & Legislative Implementation, as it increases the understanding of how the ecological trade-offs will effect economic and cultural values.

Better joint understanding and cooperative learning of what will change by the Energy Industry and Society/Stakeholders will reduce risk of conflicts and resistance to the development of marine renewable energy. This will allow increased confidence in the planning process potentially leading to increase use of offshore renewable energy. Certainty of regulatory and legislative policy concerning the offshore wind farm developments could have positive knock on effects to increasing the certainty in similar policies for fledgling wave and tidal offshore developments which could see the UK emerge as the major European provider and world leader in these Industries.
This project will develop the capacity for industry, business, policy makers, community level stakeholders, and Researchers to share experiences in ES evaluation, make use of new and innovative methodologies, technologies and developing data sets of functional relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem services.

This project will develop expertise and exchange knowledge across all participants. Due to the multi-disciplinary nature of the project, the opportunity will provide the ability for the transfer of expertise and knowledge across a range of highly skilled researchers and experienced people within industry, business, government and NGOs. This experience will provide a host of skilled and experienced researchers and key stakeholders who can export their knowledge across the globe due to the universal needs of most countries for knowledge exchange about offshore renewable development. The creation of the decision-support system will improve planning and policy development, explore new technical platforms and collaborate with industry to manage risk and maximize potential from understanding service flows from marine biodiversity.
 
Description CORPORATES was an interdisciplinary knowledge exchange project funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) under the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Sustainability (BESS) programme. The project sought to develop a process for knowledge exchange around marine ecosystem services within the context of marine spatial planning decisions; partners included Aberdeen University (project lead) (Biological Sciences, Geography and Law), the Scottish Association for Marine Studies, Marine Scotland Science and the James Hutton Institute. The project centred on a real-life case in the form of proposed off-shore wind farms and Marine Protected Areas in the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Tay, Scotland, an area where varied interests coincide in space and time. While stakeholder consultation is already integral to existing procedures, the project investigated the usefulness of embedding an ecosystem services approach into the decision-making process. Two consecutive workshops, with the same stakeholders (representing marine renewable energy, fisheries, tourism, recreationalists, local government, conservation non-governmental organisations) used different participatory methods (e.g. mapping of activities and benefits associated with different sectors, joint construction of a conceptual model of the social-ecological system) to generate a shared understanding of the interlinkages among different aspects of the marine ecosystem and the activities and benefits humans derive from it. Stakeholder feedback highlighted the usefulness for cooperative learning within the context of an ecosystem services framework and for enabling joint sector deliberation in marine spatial planning procedures.
Exploitation Route The project incorporated cooperative learning and shared development into the creation of a decision-support system. The system was found to be highly relevant to energy developers, fishing organisations, NGOs and tourism businesses, government regulators and policy makers as well as community-level stakeholders. The project proved that joint sector deliberation, as required by law, can be done in the context of an Ecosystem Service framework. Consequently, the combination of deliberative techniques as worked through in the workshops can help to facilitate planning of marine uses in the face of uncertainties, and may reduce the risk of conflict. A conclusion from the consultation process with stakeholders post the workshops suggests that this decision-support system would be most helpful early in the planning process.
The CORPORATES team have now road tested the approach by providing a workshop on training a range of 22 Marine Planners on how to provide this this approach on Feb 16, 2016. Other groups that have asked to know more about how to use the CORPRATES Framework have been the
1) North Sea Marine Planning Exchange https://marineplanningexchange.com,
2) the Scottish Universities Insight Institute: Flourishing Communities and Productive Sea's Series http://www.scottishinsight.ac.uk/Programmes/Programmes20152016/FlourishingCommunitiesandProductiveSeas.aspx
3) Scottish Natural Heritage in its Best Practice Series of workshops (this one Dealing with Uncertainty in the Marine Environment) http://www.snh.gov.uk/policy-and-guidance/sharing-good-practice/presentations/document/?category_code=SGP?ic_id=1685
4) JNCC has asked the CORPORATES theme to present an interactive session with their staff in the spring of 2016
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Education,Energy,Environment,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Government, Democracy and Justice

URL http://www.corporatesproject.co.uk/
 
Description Aspects of the CORPRATES process are being used by Scottish regional marine planners, MMO, WWF and it has been asked by the JNCC to present an interactive session on how to use the framework with their staff in the spring of 2016 .
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Energy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Transport
Impact Types Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description Approaches to stakeholder involvement in Marine Spatial Planning
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Marine Regional Planners are about to translate the new Marine Act into regional planning policy and by participating in the additional workshop provided by the CORPORATES team in Feb 2016 set up to train them in the use of our Ecosystem Service based decision-support framework, they have indicated that they will consider using some aspects of the CORPORATES process in their upcoming engagements with stakeholders.
 
Description ICES Workshop - Atlantic Research Alliance and FAO workshop
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact Working towards making the Ecosystem Approach Operational
URL http://ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Project%20reports/2016/AORACSA_WP4_FAO_ICES_Ecosystem...
 
Description Material used in Invited presentation to European Marine Board
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
 
Description Knowledge Exchange Fellowship for J F Tweddle
Amount £236,414 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/P005756/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Department NERC Postdoctoral Fellowship
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2016 
End 10/2019
 
Description MASTS Grants
Amount £2,000 (GBP)
Organisation Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2016 
End 01/2016
 
Description Supergen ORE hub 2018
Amount £5,097,482 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/S000747/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2018 
End 06/2022
 
Title CORPORATES decision-support framework 
Description The project investigated the usefulness of embedding an ecosystem services approach into the decision-making process. Two consecutive workshops used different participatory methods (e.g. mapping of activities and benefits associated with different sectors, joint construction of a conceptual model of the social-ecological system) to generate a shared understanding of the interlinkages among different aspects of the marine ecosystem and the activities and benefits humans derive from it. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Stakeholder feedback highlighted the usefulness for cooperative learning within the context of an ecosystem services framework and for enabling joint sector deliberation in marine spatial planning procedures. Consequently, the combination of deliberative techniques as worked through in the workshops can help to facilitate planning of marine uses in the face of uncertainties, and will reduce the risk of conflict. 
URL http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2016/02/4961
 
Description Material used in Invited Seminar at Oregon State University, Corvallis OR, USA. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Invited seminar at the College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences. Seminar included information drawn from several projects, and supported my NERC KE Fellowship in encouraging, training and facilitating researchers to get involved in the science-policy interface, and to work with policy makers and marine managers. Further discussions took place after the talk, in requested meetings, and specific future ideas for work were discussed and actioned.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description "MARRiAgE: MArine Renewables Research Accelerator tEam" 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Material used in workshop run by The Marine Alliance for Science and Technology Scotland (MASTS) Marine Renewable Energy Forum and Offshore Renewables Joint Industry Programme (ORJIP) for Ocean Energy . Purpose to discuss how to fix the broke process of funding fundamental research for environmental impacts of marine renewables. Impact - it launched and produced the funding for Development of an ORE environmental R&D strategy for Scotland
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Article in Forth Estuary Forum newsletter "Forth Sight" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Article in Forth Estuary Forum newsletter "Forth Sight". The Forum provided a representative for this study's workshops, and this newsletter allowed us to engage with the wider membership of the Forum. The article was requested by the Forum, due to stated interest from members.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.forthestuaryforum.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/FEF-Newsletter-28.pdf
 
Description CORPORATES Workshop 3 (Reginal Marine Spatial Planners) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact In February 2016 a workshop was held which was run to share the CORPORATES process with the future Scottish regional marine planners. The group also included attendees from the MMO and WWF. This was an attempt to 'test drive' the CORPORATES approach to further improvements in marine planning by providing methods for better 1) stakeholder participation and 2) to track stakeholder input as well as 3) demonstrate the Ecosystem-based management approach with real marine planners and to be provided with constructive criticism to improve our approach .
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.corporatesproject.co.uk/
 
Description CORPORATES Workshop One 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The Cooperative Participatory Evaluation of Renewable Technologies on Ecosystem Services (CORPORATES) project has been developing a process of using this ecosystem services concept in marine management processes, to better capture the benefits and values of public and private sector stakeholders, and help facilitate discussions on valuations and trade-offs within marine planning and management. The project used the Firth of Forth as a case study, due to the possible development of a number of large windfarms in an area important to both fishing and nature conservation. The project included the involvement of a wide range of highly experienced stakeholders over the course of two day-long workshops in November 2014 and March 2015. While the process centred on a "live" decision-making case study, the focus of the CORPORATES project was to develop a process for knowledge exchange between stakeholders around ecosystem services rather than influencing decision-making in the Forth. This was the first workshop and stakeholders found the identification and sharing of Benefits of ecosystems services a very useful exercise in the first workshop
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.corporatesproject.co.uk/
 
Description CORPORATES Workshop Two 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The Cooperative Participatory Evaluation of Renewable Technologies on Ecosystem Services (CORPORATES) project has been developing a process of using this ecosystem services concept in marine management processes, to better capture the benefits and values of public and private sector stakeholders, and help facilitate discussions on valuations and trade-offs within marine planning and management. The project used the Firth of Forth as a case study, due to the possible development of a number of large windfarms in an area important to both fishing and nature conservation. The project included the involvement of a wide range of highly experienced stakeholders over the course of two day-long workshops in November 2014 and March 2015. While the process centred on a "live" decision-making case study, the focus of the CORPORATES project was to develop a process for knowledge exchange between stakeholders around ecosystem services rather than influencing decision-making in the Forth.
This was the second workshop in March 2015 and stakeholders were very engaged with the process and gave feedback comments such as
"Interaction with others organisations was very useful - gaining understanding of others view"
"Liked working in a mixed group"
"Enjoyable, well-facilitated workshop"
"Good interaction with other contributors - personal/social learning process"
"People were prepared to listen - level of engagement between sectors was interesting"
"Good diversity of attendees"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.corporatesproject.co.uk/
 
Description CORPORATES website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact This is a dedicated website to the CORPORATES project to enable the viewing and downloading of our material for a Framework of a decision makingprocess within Marine Spatial Planning
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016
URL http://www.corporatesproject.co.uk/
 
Description Demonstration at Valuing Nature Network Annual Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Invited interactive demonstration.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description ICES Working Group on Marine Planning and Coastal Zone Management 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Discussed CORPORATES during this expert group, sparking questions and discussions, and interest in using outputs in marine management and policy making
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Material used in Invited Seminar National Oceanographic Centre, Liverpool 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Seminar on Oceans as Habitats: What changes will matter the most to pelagic habitats and mobile animals? Led to offers of collaboration on NERC projects.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Material used in Invited Seminar at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing CA, USA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Seminar included information drawn from several projects, and supported my NERC KE Fellowship in encouraging, training and facilitating researchers to get involved in the science-policy interface, and to work with policy makers and marine managers. Many questions were asked, and discussions prompted, both with myself and between MBARI colleagues. Further discussions took place after the talk, in meetings, and specific future ideas for work were discussed and actioned.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Material used in Invited Seminar at National Oceanographic Centre, Southampton 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Invited seminar and meetings with researchers at the National Oceanography Centre Southampton and University of Southampton. Seminar attented by ~20 researchers contained CORPORATES material, and attendees were most interested in this segment of the talk. Seminar sparked many questions, and researchers realised new ways their own research may be able to have impact, and feed into marine management and stakeholder engagement.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Material used in Invited Seminar at University of Washington, Seattle WA, USA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Invited seminar at the Applied Physics Laboratory. Seminar included information drawn from several projects, and supported my NERC KE Fellowship in encouraging, training and facilitating researchers to get involved in the science-policy interface, and to work with policy makers and marine managers. Many questions were asked, and discussion developed. Good connections were made to people expected to be useful in future to the policy partners of my NERC KE Fellowship.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Material used in Invited Talk at the Baltic Sea 2nd Marine Spatial Planning Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Invited talk to around 40 conference attendees, prompting questions and interest in future work, for use in policy making and stakeholder engagement.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.balticscope.eu/events/baltic-2nd-msp-forum/
 
Description NERC JUNE WORKSHOP Challenges and opportunities renewable energy event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Purpose to engage NERC Strategic groups and politicians about possible best routes / issues to consider to fund for strategic solution to multiple and sustainable use of marine renewable energy
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description SNH Sharing Good Practice Dealing with uncertainty in the Marine Environment 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Sharing Good Practice Dealing with uncertainty in the Marine Environment - a range of short interactive sessions (and repeat) sessions to explain the potential routes to assessing the impact of renewable developments to industry, NGOs, and other academic disciplines. There were subsequent invites to give this overview to JNCC personal.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Valuing Nature: A conference with interactive workshops with businesses and artist. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Showcased an Ecological Trade-off framework for public/stakeholder assessment of environmental impacts of offshore renewable energy in an Ecosystem services context. This was done in interactive workshop and as a presentation to wide audience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://valuing-nature.net/valnat17
 
Description workshop of the Namibian delegation of the working group in Marine Spatial Planning. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Marine Scotland Science Government workshop of the Namibian delegation of the working group in Marine Spatial Planning. Presented the CORPORATES project: Stakeholder engagement and ecosystem services in MSP
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017