Polt Renate, Bakk. techn.

Email: renate.polt(at)gmx.at


University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
Masters programme
“Environment and Bio-Resources Management”
Emphasis on: „Water“ and „Mobility/Traffic“

University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
Bachelors programme
“Environment and Bio-Resources Management”

Master thesis associated with the PhD-Project
River assessment

“Stakeholders’ Views on an Ecosystem Service Assessment for River Landscapes: Case Study River Enns”

The anthropogenic use of rivers has significantly affected their ecological state and their provision of ecosystem services (ES), namely the benefits they provide for humans. An increasingly applied approach to ensure a sustainable future use of ecosystems is the ES concept. The idea of the concept is to establish a link between nature and society by identifying and assessing these services.

The main focus of this master thesis was to investigate the perception of different stakeholders at the Enns river in Austria towards an ES assessment in riverine landscapes. 45 interviews have been conducted to learn about the stakeholder’s views on the practicability of the concept and to identify potential expectations or concerns in regard to an ES assessment. An additional goal was to find out at which institutional/administration level an ecosystem service concept implementation is perceived as most practical.

Research showed that many of the Enns river stakeholders felt overwhelmed by the already existing amount of regulations and therefore rated the concept as impractical. Nevertheless, a great majority was intrigued by the idea to carry out an ES assessment, associating it with an improved argumentation basis and a support for planning and decision-making processes. The proposal to describe ES values with monetary values triggered controversial responses.

The rather strong resistance towards the idea of implementing a new concept into the already existing regulation framework should be given consideration, as it poses a realistic threat to potential implementation efforts. To overcome this challenge, the ES concept could be integrated into existing regulations like the Water Framework Directive or the Environmental Impact Assessment. To compensate the weaknesses of a solely monetary ES assessment approach, the combination of different valuation tools and value presentation methods is advised.

supervisor: Muhar Susanne, Ao.Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.nat.techn.
co-supervisor: Böck Kerstin, Dipl.-Ing.