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New Approach For The Management of Coastal Ecosystems In The Italian-Slovenian Regions: The Ita-Slo Interreg Project Eco-Smart
Ecosystems and their services are vital for human existence and good quality of life1. As such their conservation is central to international polices for Sustainable Development2. Despite playing such an important role, ecosystems quality has significantly degenerated in past years so that globally, about 75% of the terrestrial environment and 40% of the marine environment are now severely altered1. Within this framework emerged the need to develop and test new approaches to facilitate the conservation of ecosystems and their value. Europe has clearly stated the importance of preserve and restore those ecosystems that are more at risk due to the effect of climate change3. Among the different ones, coastal transitional ecosystems of the Adriatic, due to the delicate balance that characterizes the habitats of these areas, are a priority in regional environmental policies. The aim of this paper is to present the new approach developed to improve the climate resilience of NATURA 2k sites within the project ECO-SMART. Funded by INTERREG V-A Italy-Slovenia Cooperation Program 2014-2020, the project builds on the principle that the value of ecosystems services can be assessed and properly evaluated in economic terms. Through the application of paying for ecosystems services schemes, this value can be increased and the quality of ecosystem improved so that coastal regions can become more and more resilient to the effects of climate changes. The new approach will be presented and first project outcomes related to pilot applications in three NATURA 2k sites (2 Itay, 1 Slovenia) will be discussed.