Tuesday 21 March 2023

Capturing the ecosystem value that UIC members create around the world

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Railways can improve the management of their biodiversity assets through better understanding the services that ecosystems provide. With railways increasingly focusing on achieving net zero emissions, new infrastructure projects can bring high environmental and social costs, including causing biodiversity loss, deforestation, social disruption and releasing CO2. Therefore, UIC together with its members, aims to design well-managed, multi-functional landscapes as part of new infrastructure projects, recognising that railways can provide and benefit from a wide variety of services from lineside habitats.

On March 30 2023, the UIC Sustainable Land Use Sector will kick-off a new 3-year technical project, ECOSYSTEM VALUATION FOR RAILWAYS (ECOV4R) with its experts at UIC HQ, Paris.

ECOV4R will continue on from two previous projects, TRISTRAM, focused on vegetation management, and REVERSE, engaging in mitigating impacts on biodiversity and enhancing railways. The focus will now be on the ecosystem services that railways benefit from, and on which have other influences.

Biodiversity assets can be mapped, valued and plans can be put in place to enhance their value and protect their capacity to provide their services. With the #ECOV4R project, UIC together with its members will apply an understanding of ecosystem services and science to the railway’s land management techniques, and to the habitats and associated services provided on railway land.

The project aims to have a global reach, and is structured around the following 5 work packages:

  • WP1 will define requirements and analyse the current common and best practices
  • WP2 will define the participant railways’ land-use and the typical habitats within their assets, as well as a framework and different valuation factors for typical railway ecosystems
  • WP3 will collect the data from a range of projects and operational sites
  • WP4 will perform the analysis and assessment
  • WP5 will provide a framework to monetise this evaluation for railway infrastructure

The first in-person meeting will be organised soon with the confirmed participation of experts from Network Rail, Vayla, Sydney Trains, ADIF, ÖBB, RFI, Bane NOR, and SNCF.

For those interested in joining, or for any further information please contact the Sustainable Land Use Sector at landuse@uic.org

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