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To effectively utilize biodiversity for larger social aims and to contribute to biodiversity conservation, it is important your initiative is rooted in the area involved and connected to other initiatives. 

How can you and your initiative make a true contribution to biodiversity in your area?  Can your initiative also contribute to ecosystem services?  By coordinating different initiatives, the end result can be much greater that the sum of its parts.  In a word:  synergy.  Take the example of natural alternatives to pesticides.  By coordinating activities at an agricultural operation and in the surrounding area, the effects will be far greater. 

Connecting with biodiversity

The most direct form of connection is to ensure that areas targeted by the various initiatives are connected.  In this way, a network is formed of 'biodiverse' places that can then increase in diversity by sharing their species.  This will create a large network, with habitat for a wide variety of species.  Find out how your plans can contribute to this sort of interconnected network.  You can probably learn more from an urban ecologist, other experts from the local authorities, or nature organization volunteers. 

Connecting with people

Biodiversity provides services that people value.  Living, working, and pursuing recreational activities in or near nature contribute to a healthier, happier life.  You can create more enthusiasm for your plans by shifting the emphasis from the value of nature itself to the people who make use of the services biodiversity provides.  Also, the social benefits of your initiative may prove greater than the costs, giving a small project a greater chance of being funded and/or expanded.

By mapping out the services an area provides, it soon becomes clear whether all stakeholders are represented in the process.  If not, additional participants can then be approached.  Both competing services and services that reinforce one another can be depicted on a map or satellite image.  An urban ecologist who is part of the BAP team (see Choose) can assist with this step of the process.

A vision for the area's future can be developed with the help of ‘dream sessions’.  A variety of areas in the Netherlands have made use of such sessions. 

Also read: Dream Sessions in Leiden

Connecting with other initiatives

Areas designated for renovation or development – such as business parks that are being refurbished or neighborhoods that are being rejuvenated, as well as brand new developments – present great opportunities for bringing in fresh ideas.  Other projects that lend themselves to links with biodiversity plans and the services biodiversity offers include:  emergency storage of excess water and buffer zones along major roadways. 

Existing biodiversity initiatives may serve as a good foundation for the change you wish to set in motion.  Stakeholders in other plans may want to take part in yours too.  When your initiative engages with the wishes of other parties (such as the government), such cooperation can lead to productive synergies and can open up new avenues for funding. 

Also read:  Local services and regional biodiversity

Also read:  Connections in the Overdiepse polder   


To get activities going, it can be useful to find other parties to work with.  This is certainly true if you want to develop a shared vision for the future of an area.  But also if you want to work with smaller initiatives, cooperation can prove key to obtaining the knowledge and expertise needed and mobilizing support for your plan. Who are potential partners?