The overarching aim of the OPERAs project is to bridge the gap between science, policy and practice in order to better integrate the use of the ecosystem services and natural capital concepts into EU policy. This is being achieved by our work packages  which focus on different means of reaching these goals. Each work package is contributing to influencing EU policy in its own unique way. Below is a summary of the contribution of a variety of workpackages.


OPERAs Work Package 2, Practice, links with policy on scales from the global to local. Some of the 12 Exemplar case studies are explicitly designed around international (forest conservation through REDD+), transboundary (Danube river management), or European (No Net Loss of biodiversity) policies, while others work with decision-makers on the local scales (land use planning in the Alps outside Grenoble). All Exemplars aim to use OPERAs tools and instruments in collaboration with stakeholders to better understand and manage the benefits from nature, meet stakeholder values, and implement policies.



The OPERAs work package Knowledge produces, refines and integrates cutting edge ecosystem service science into policy and practice. Our research addresses the multiple scales (geographic and in time) over which the ecosystem services concept operates and the multiple physical and socio-economic drivers that affect, and are affected. Our outputs support the development and implementation of nature-based solutions, such as: (1) methodological guidance and best-practice guidelines on how to address context-specific problems, (2) examples of the application of nature-based solutions in case studies of various contexts.



OPERAS explores how the Ecosystem Services and Natural capital (ES/NC) concepts can be operationalized by integrating them into public and private decision-making via the development of suitable tools and instruments. A few of these instruments include:

 1.Assessment frameworks for policy reviews

  • ESPI
  • ecolabel review
  • ES indicators

2.Visualisation tools

  • OE
  • Canvas

3.Decision-support tools and procedures

  • LCA
  • ToSIA
  • MDCA
  • SEEA
  • MCA

4. ES management Tools

  • PES
  • Certification and offsetting

This work includes both the development of novel instruments and tools addressing ES and improving the ‘ES performance’ of existing instruments. All tools are tested in practice, establishing links in real-world applications (WP2), as well as with knowledge (WP3) and within a broader policymix (WP4).OPERAs work on policy instruments is supported by the development of practice-oriented guidance on how to select the most suitable instrument to match a given need. Once practitioners arrive at a suggested tool or instrument, guidance on its use, resources needed and other further information is made available.


Briefs on Policy

Do we have the tools to assess Nature Based Solutions for climate change mitigation?

Natural capital accounting and policy utility

Incorportating social and cultural values in green infrastructure, planning and environmental regulation

Upcoming events related to Policy

Innovating with Nature: EU Policy day 1/3/2016


Papers relating to policy

Monetary and Social Valuation: State of the Art


Gaps, needs and opportunities. An EU policy Audit