LINKAGE is a research project funded within Polish-Norwegian Research Programme implemented under the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2009-2014. The project is coordinated by Institute of Nature Conservation, Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS) in Kraków and is realized in cooperation with Mammal Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences (Białowieża), Adam Mickiewicz University (Poznań) and University of Tromsø (Norwegian partner).

The ultimate aim of the LINKAGE project is to improve biodiversity governance in Poland and Norway by developing innovative protocols and technologies for biodiversity governance (based on Public Participation Geographic Information System (PPGIS). PPGIS is one of the promising methods for identifying landscape and ecosystem values. It enables respondents to spatially locate biodiversity, cultural, aesthetic, recreational and other values. PPGIS can serve both as a research and a planning and decision-support tool. The mapping of landscape values and ecosystem services using participatory GIS methods is a relatively new method that has been implemented in North America, Australia and Africa), but has not been extensively used in Europe (particularly in the context of nature conservation).

The LINKAGE project is conducted by an interdisciplinary group of researchers (ecologists, geographers, sociologists included). This enables to merge scientific and

methodological perspectives that will lead to the accomplishment of innovative and aplicable research.

The research is conducted simultaneously in Poland and Norway. Within the project, two case study areas will be selected in Norway and four in Poland (one for a pilot study of internet-based research and three for mapping through facilitated workshops). Within each of selected case study areas, we will choose legally protected area and a parallel, neighbouring non-protected area. The research is to be conducted simultaneously in both areas. In both protected and non-protected areas, the perception of social values and ecosystem services is an important factor in shaping and implementing environmental policy. In Norway, we will select two sites for internet mapping (PPGIS), which will be designed as a quasi-experiment.

The LINKAGE project is broken into six work packages (WPs) (see Figure below):

  • WP1 Ecosystem services identification and categorization
  • WP2 Development and evaluation of internet-based PPGIS
  • WP3 Mapping social values and ecosystems services; spatial analyses
  • WP4 Implications of the use of participatory tools for biodiversity governance of protected areas
  • WP5 Design, Demonstration and Dissemination
  • WP6 Coordination and management