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YPAC 2015

The Youth Parliament to the Alpine Convention 2015 is working on the topic of ecosystem services in times of climate change, so the session with the title: "My green Alps", which will take place in Kamnik, from 16th to 20th March 2015, aims to give an impulse to the political dialogue at the local, national and European level about balancing energy and nature in the alpine region.


Humankind benefits in a multitude of ways from ecosystems. Collectively, these benefits are known as ecosystem services. What are the main changes in the Ecosystem Services and how to deal with them in the Alps, in times of climate changes?


Committee 1 – Soil

The term “soil” is not limited to the surface of Earth’s crust, used by agriculture. It is much more than that - it sustains life in the terrestrial eco systems and performs essential ecosystem services. Put simply: no soil – no plants, no animals – no people. This is especially true in the Alpine ecosystems; soils in the Alps are much more vulnerable, however, when well managed and protected, they make our lives better.


Committee 2 - Food production and waste assimilation

Food in the general sense of biomass that sustains living organisms, material that can be converted to provide energy and nutrition. Mostly initially derived from photosynthesis.

Waste treatment:Waste is an unwanted or useless material and, in natural ecosystems, there is no such thing as waste because all materials are utilised, cycled and recycled. One organism’s waste is another’s resource.  For example leaf litter on a forest floor is decomposed (e.g. by fungi and soil biota) and the nutrients made available for new growth. Animal feces are similarly sources of nutrients.


Committee 3 - Forests as source of renewable energy

Forest area has increased in Europe over the last six decades. Today, forests cover nearly 40% of the European surface and are home to much of the continent’s biodiversity. In addition to the supply of wood, to which most forested European land is dedicated, forests provide a multitude of benefits in terms of climate regulation, human health, recreation, refuges, fresh water supply and many others. Nowadays, European forest ecosystems face multiple natural and anthropogenic threats. For instance, a changing climate is producing increased droughts in the Mediterranean; forest disturbances are foreseen to increase (forest fires, invasive pests) and competing socio-economic demands for forest goods and services can result in multiple drivers of forest change. Forests as renewable source of energy in the Alpine region too.


Committee 4 - Recreation and the cultural aspects of Ecosystems

These are the nonmaterial benefits people obtain from ecosystems through spiritual enrichment, cognitive development, reflection, recreation, and aesthetic experiences.

  • cultural (including use of nature as motif in books, film, painting, folklore, national symbols, architecture, advertising, etc.)
  • spiritual and historical (including use of nature for religious or heritage value or natural)
  • recreational experiences(including ecotourism, outdoor sports, and recreation)
  • science and education (including use of natural systems for school excursions, and scientific discovery)


Further reading