Integrated European
Long-Term Ecosystem, critical zone and
socio-ecological Research

ALTER-Net issues Policy Brief - Pursuing benefits for nature and society

20 May 2017

The Brief 'Pursuing benefits for nature and society' presents some of the key research findings and practical experiences presented at the international ALTER-Net conference in May 2017 on ‘Nature and society: synergies, conflicts, trade-offs’. It formulates calls to policymakers that follow from these findings and experiences as well as from the panel debate that was part of the conference.

Key messages in the Policy Brief are:

  • Considering multiple values, including relational values, is essential for achieving a sustainable society and economy. Capitalisation of nature may neglect these relational values of nature with people.
  • Synergies between nature and society are possible and necessitate awareness of and collaboration between policy sectors and governance levels. Conflicts and trade-offs need to be acknowledged and genuinely addressed.
  • European institutions should facilitate synergies between nature and society. They can offer a coherent framework with shared aims and objectives while maintaining flexibility for locally adapted implementation. The UN Sustainable Development Goals offer such a framework.
  • Evidence and a good knowledge base are essential to support decisions at the interface between nature and society and to raise societal awareness.
  • Interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary science, through integrated stakeholder participation, is required when identifying, designing and implementing tailored solutions that offer multiple benefits.


One session at the conference was 'LTSER platforms as vehicles for scientific inquiries into synergies, conflicts and trade-offs in the relationship between nature and society'. It was organised by LTER-Europe's Kinga Krauze (ERCE, Poland). LTSER platform, are a key component of  European LTER.

In the Brief, the ALTER-Net community makes a number of requests to European policymakers, aimed at a more integrated and inclusive approach towards environmental policymaking, using the UN Sustainable Development Goals as an integrative framework, and fully adopting the ecosystems approach. The importance of basing policy decisions on sound evidence from research is highlighted, and the community therefore calls for increased funding to enable interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary environmental research.

Further information