The Project

The IMAGINE project aimed at quantifying the multiple functions, ecosystem services and benefits provided by green infrastructures (GI) in different contexts from rural to urban.


An european consortium

The consortium led by INRAe (France) comprises 6 teams (EMU, INBO, INRAe, ISOE, NINA and UniKiel) from 5 European countries (Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany and Norway).


A site based research

Based on case study sites, we explored different state-of-the-art methods on the interaction between the environmental (abiotic characteristics of soil and water), structural (size, shape, spatial network configuration) and biological (species composition, structure, production) properties of the GI, which are necessary for the optimal provision of ecosystem services by the GI.


A multidisciplinary project

In relation with GI ecological functions, we considered the societal values from different stakeholders and citizens as well as the policyscape addressing GI management in a set of case study sites.

The management and governance of green infrastructures is complex and requires participatory cooperation between institutions and stakeholders. Several different perceptions and wishes regarding the ES provided by green infrastructure may prevail. It is therefore important to define and specify the respective objective(s) for which a Green Infrastructure is implemented.

Starting from common values related to the social elements and functions of green infrastructure will help to resolve frictions.


Main objectives of the project

  • Our project not only generated new knowledge on the relationship between management, ecosystem integrity and multifunctionality of GI ecosystem services but also developed methods and technical guides that could be implemented by or in support to local stakeholders for sustainable landscape management.
  • IMAGINE aimed at quantifying the multiple functions, ecosystem services and benefits provided by Green Infrastructures (GI) in different contexts from rural to urban.
  • We demonstrated an integrative assessment of GI multifunctionality and biocapacity to deliver ES and to propose options to manage and design GI from patch to landscape
  • We developped an innovative approach to support ecosystems resilience, sustainable essential ecosystem services flows and contributing to human wellbeing to meet EU policy targets.


Key research topics of IMAGINE

  • Ecosystem integrity as a prerequisite to maintain self-organization and resilience capabilities of biodiversity and the capacity of GBI to supply multiple ES.
  • Variation in services and disservices provisioning by GBI along rural to urban and simple to complex landscape gradients, in order to arrive at a balanced assessment of GBI multifunctionalities.
  • Spatial and temporal mismatches of service providing units (SPU) and service benefiting units (SBU) in socio-ecological systems.
  • Management options to restore and design multifunctional GI networks at landscape scale
  • Stakeholder-dependent demands and uses of ES.
  • Complex interactions and regulatory mechanisms at different governance levels.