Ongoing knowledge

Research on Environmental Economics

We have projects that are related to a broad variety of topics, including:

 

 

Ongoing Projects

The project aims to quantify the ecosystem services provided by irrigated croplands to ecological focus areas (EFA) such as field margins, hedges, trees, fallow land, landscape features, biotopes, buffer strips, and afforested areas, and the habitat configurations serving the maximum capacity of services. The project will also simulate water and habitat delivery of biodiversity services for different climate change scenarios and agriculture storylines in the future. Economic costs and agro-policy environmental trade-offs will be analyzed, and an EFA calculator produced at the farm level. The project develops over two case-studies, collects information in situ and remotely, and the results will receive the input and testing from the farmers during the project lifespan.

Led by: Instituto Superior de Agronomia.

Partners: Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Agrotejo - União agrícola do norte do Vale do Tejo, Associação de regantes e beneficiários do vale do Sorraia

Funded by: Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia.

Researchers: Renato Rosa, João Pato.

More information: Optimus Prime – Optimus Prime

Ecosystem services (ES) are the benefits provided by nature, and these have a direct impact on human wellbeing. However, ES valuation studies in Portugal are rare and often done at a local level. ASEBIO assesses and maps ES and their vulnerability in Portugal mainland, based on CORINE land cover (1990-2012). The project will quantify the impacts on ES and trade-offs considering different policy scenarios affecting land cover change (LCC) for 2040. Selected ES, such as water cleaning, food from agriculture, and others, will be monetarily valued by estimating the costs associated with the deterioration of ES. The project will propose a well-being indicator and assess the impact of LCC according to the different scenarios. A WebGIS will enable a spatially explicit prioritization and problem identification of ES and explore the different scenarios. The project proposes an innovative methodology for monitoring and valuing ES, and to better understand the impacts of LCC on ES, biodiversity, and human well-being.

Led by: Nova Information Management School.

Funded by :Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia.

Researchers: Maria Antonieta Cunha e Sá, Luis Catela Nunes, Carina Silva, Vladimir Otrachshenko, João Seixo, Jeffrey Peart.

More information:  ASEBIO – ASEBIO – Assessment of Ecosystem Services, Biodiversity, and Well-Being in Portugal (unl.pt)

The loss of land to development at the urban-rural/forest interface is of particular concern to policymakers as the irreversibility that it entails threatens the ecological and socioeconomic value of agricultural and forestlands. The aim of this project is to model private agents’ decisions about whether and when to convert their lands either to reversible or irreversible uses for policy purposes based on an empirical application to a Portuguese study site. To complement the statistical data, we intend to collect micro- data by conducting two surveys on local stakeholders, including landowners. After choosing the benchmark context, the structural model is calibrated and validated by using numerical simulations. Then, policy implications are derived based on scenario analysis, reflecting policy-relevant contexts associated with changes in the regulatory context, among others. The methodology proposed can be replicated, thus providing an important tool to guide policy design locally.

Partner: Nova Information Management School.

Funded by: Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia.

Researchers: Maria Antonieta Cunha e Sá, Sofia Franco, Luis Catela Nunes, Carin​a Silva, Renato Rosa, Hou Zheng, João Pato

This project combines the efforts of a large group of scientists with the final aim of delivering a Management Plan for the Portuguese purse-seiner fishery. The main task to be developed by Nova SBE Environmental Economics Knowledge Center is to create a bioeconomic model for this fleet. By doing this project, it aims at contributing to integrate economics into fishery policy advice further. In particular, the bioeconomic model will be used to derive harvest control rules that endogenously capture economics aspects while using a population model framework based on most fish stock assessments and fishery management plans. Building upon the project’s results, the bioeconomic model will be extended to account for interactions between species and environmental impacts on targeted fish populations. By doing so, we also aim to contribute to fostering the use of an ecosystem approach to fisheries management.

Partner: Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera.

Funded by: the Programa Operacional MAR 2020.

Researchers: Renato Rosa, Gonçalo Araujo.

In a nutshell, the OceanPlan project is a 3-year research project that investigates how marine spatial planning (MSP) can both be affected by and adapt to global climate change. The project is funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology, and led by an international team of scientists with expertise on both climate change and MSP. MSP is being developed and implemented worldwide as a way to foster sustainability in ocean management and use. It deals with the spatial and temporal distribution of human uses in marine areas, striving to minimize conflicts and foster compatibilities among such uses, as well as between uses and the environment. On top of the many challenges MSP already faces (political, socioeconomic, environmental), in the near-future it will need to deal with a changing climate. Properly incorporating climate change into the MSP framework will allow for better preparedness, improved response capacity and, ultimately, a reduced vulnerability of marine socio-ecological systems.

Led by: Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre.

Partners: Fundação Gaspar Frutuoso (Universidade dos Açores).

Funded by: Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia.

Researchers: Catarina Frazão Santos, Carina Silva, Maria Antonieta Cunha e Sá, Renato Rosa.

More information: OCEANPLAN - Home (oceanplan-project.com)

The collection and adequate treatment of disposable beverage containers and their valorisation through recycling is a fundamental component of waste management, contributing to the pursuit of aGreen Economy. Besides reducing the transportation of these residues to waterways and the environmental challenges this entails, recycling can also prevent them from being deposited at landfills, preventing air, soil and water pollution. Additionally, the use of recycled materials in production brings about benefits in terms of lower production costs, energy savings and lower emissions, and contributes to an economy based on circularity principles.

iREC will address the challenges mentioned above through an innovative approach to the management of single-use containers, bringing together, towards that end, an experienced team of retailers, collection services, research centres and companies in the waste sector.

Firstly, a pilot scheme for the introduction incentives to recycling will be implemented in Cascais, thus covering a population of 206,000 inhabitants and 1,200,000 tourists per year. This will be achieved by setting up 10 Reverse Vending Machines (RVM) in the main commercial spaces in the municipality (hyper and supermarkets, shopping centres and the municipal market). The incentive scheme will be based on a gamification system, making use of applications which award users for depositing plastic and glass beverage containers and aluminium cans in RVMs with city points which can be converted into various services, such as bus and museum tickets. To guarantee large-scale adherence to the incentives scheme, the project will devise and implement a communication plan specifically designed to achieve that goal. Secondly, the project will test the effect of the incentives scheme on selective collection rates, thus contributing with valuable and unprecedented knowledge which will support decision-making and the transition to the new recycling system, mandatory from 2022 onwards. Sharing results and communicating/cooperating with other pilot projects, namely in the context of Fundo Ambiental, will also be central to the project, allowing to maximize the reach of the knowledge and experience acquired.

The project will thus contribute towards improving the environmental quality, promoting climate action and a circular economy. In particular, the project also focuses on increasing collection rates, on promoting the use of recycled materials in the production of goods, on reducing the amount of waste in landfills and on evaluating the incentives system taking into account the goals to be achieved. The project will also focus on the development and testing of this system, which, associated with a strong communication and awareness campaign, will promote innovation, the introduction of new technologies in the national setting and the adoption of more sustainable behaviours in relation to waste.

Led by: Cascais Ambiente

Funded by: Mecanismo Financeiro do Espaço Económico Europeu (MFEEE/EEA-Grants), Programa Ambiente

Researchers: Ana Rodrigues, Carina Silva, Luis Veiga Martins, Margarida Ortigão, Maria Antonieta Cunha e Sá, Renato Rosa,

Partner: Nova SBE Sustainability Hub

More information: 

iREC - Inovar a reciclagem | Cascais Ambiente

iREC - Inovar a Reciclagem (eeagrants.gov.pt)

This project aims to investigate the ecological importance, and to estimate the economic value provided by seagrass meadows in the Sado Estuary for conservation purposes. The Nova Environmental Knowledge Center will lead the economic valuations tasks.

Led by: Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre

Funded by: Programa Operacional MAR 2020

70% of Mozambicans depend on natural resources for their livelihoods. For poverty to decrease, growth must become more inclusive, and solutions that promote sustainable management of natural resources by rural communities must be found. Thus, rural poverty, community rights and land management cannot be ignored for resource conservation. Sofala Province (SP) is especially vulnerable to extreme climatic events, holding of the most productive mangrove ecosystems in the country. The recent devastation by Idai Cyclone has disrupted SP economy increasing poverty and food security concerns. This project aims to improve rural livelihoods of those highly-resource dependent and vulnerable communities by promoting sustainable management of urban/peri-urban mangrove ecosystems. By collaborating with local communities and NGOs and taking advantage of their experience in the field, we place rigorous research at the service of the local communities and authorities, accounting for the cultural and socioeconomic diversity of the region.

For sustainable development, we first estimate the economic value of mangrove Ecosystem Services, and then implement a Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) scheme at a selected site targeting natural resource conservation/restoration and socioeconomic goals. Multiple benefits are expected, not only on biodiversity, carbon sequestration, water quality, but also by protecting human lives and assets against storms.

Additional social benefits can also be obtained from improved rural cohesion, rural employment, and knowledge/skills transfer to local communities. By fostering human development locally, the PES is expected to increase income generation, gender equality and food security, contributing to decrease undernourishment, and infant and child mortality.

Thus, this project can be taken as a timely contribution to improve the quality of life of those populations and is expected to provide long-lasting beneficial outcomes.

Funded by: Aga Khan

Researchers: Maria Antonieta Cunha e Sá, Renato Rosa, Carina Vieira da  Silva, Ana Rodrigues

Partner: Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Nova IMS

Marine biodiversity is under increasing menace at a global scale, primarily due overfishing, pollution and climate change. Sharks have higher intrinsic risk of extinction compared to other fish, and the spatial distribution of threatened shark species under World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red List criteria are clustered in five major global regions, being Western Africa one of them. Large pelagic sharks, including blue, mako, threshers, great whites, and hammerhead sharks have declined more than 75% in the North Atlantic since 1986. Direct fishing mortality has driven these declines, even though some smaller fisheries persist without associated declines. Small island nations, like Cabo Verde (CV) and Sao Tome and Principe (STP), usually show high reliance on marine food resources (including sharks), and related changes may dictate severe impacts in the well-being of local human populations. Within this context, NGANDU project entails Collaborative Research between 15 partners from academia, governmental agencies and NGOs, with the goal to understand how shark populations are being affected by human pressures in CV and STP, and their importance as key-stone species for human communities well-being and subsistence. These topics of research will be investigated under the QOL concept, including food security and biodiversity. Concomitantly, NGANDU will promote/consolidate sustainable use/conservation (UN Sustainable Development Goal SGD 14), knowledge transfer and research capacity (SGDs 4,8,16) in both African countries.

 

www.ruirosalab.com/ngandu

Human capital is crucial for the successful development of a sustainable blue economy. Currently, though, there is a lack of education programs in economics devoted to that topic. The OceanSchool fulfils that gap by developing an innovative course stream in blue growth for master’s students at NovaSBE and NHH. To that end, OceanSchool put together a multidisciplinary team of Environmental and Resource economists from those Schools, and experienced natural scientists and practitioners from recognized non-academic institutions, such as IPMA. By explicitly integrating knowledge from complementary fields, the OceanSchool will provide students from both Schools with an innovative experience where research on timely real-world challenges and more traditional learning goals are integrated.

Building upon the extant master's programs offered by the two Schools, mandatory course units will be revised to provide students with the adequate background in Blue Growth from an economics perspective. Besides the mandatory course work, OceanSchool is founded on two central pillars. The first is a Field Lab, which serves as an integrative platform of applied research projects to be developed by students under the co-supervision of experienced researchers and practitioners of the consortium institutions. This is particularly relevant, as it will allow students to consolidate knowledge on specific topics of Blue Growth while also producing new studies on relevant policy questions for both Portugal and Norway. The second pillar is a summer intensive course taking place at Nova SBE and NHH. By benefiting from the participation of natural scientists and practitioners, the summer course curricula will focus on applied blue growth challenges. 

OceanSchool was thus designed to endow students with the necessary competence and skills to develop economic and public policy analysis on maritime themes, delivering the first specialized breed of economists and practitioners on Blue Growth in Portugal.

Funded by: Mecanismo Financeiro do Espaço Económico Europeu (MFEEE/EEA-Grants), DGPM

Partners: NHH, IPMA

BlueForests brings together a team of Portuguese scientists, a Norwegian multidisciplinary research institute, Portuguese SMEs specialized in seaweed aquaculture and ocean engineering solutions and a collaborative laboratory between academic and industrial communities to face climate change and environmental sustainability, to advance science and test technological innovations to rebuild Portuguese marine forests and to value their ecosystem services. It will contribute to build a sustainable blue economy based on resilient and abundant marine natural capitals. New technologies to restore Portuguese marine forests, including oceanography-ecosystem modelling and GIS-based multi-criteria decision analysis to reveal the best locations for seaforestation and offshore hotspots of organic matter deposition, will be used. Novel techniques of planting will be developed, tested and optimized and seaforestations will be monitored. The outwelling of organic matter from Portuguese marine forests to offshore hotspots of accumulation within the sediments will be quantified and characterized by a series of techniques, including eDNA. The ecosystem services delivered by Portuguese marine forests will be economically valuated as this is a key step to halt biodiversity loss and the degradation of ecosystems in the EU. An important dissemination effort will be done not only to the scientific community but also to the general public, stakeholders and managers, to inform public policies for sustainable management, contributing to the welfare of populations

The implementation of this operation will contribute for the reversal of the loss of marine forests, rebuilding a key marine life support system along the Portuguese coast that delivers fundamental global and regional ecosystem services, such as climate change mitigation, support of biodiversity, including fisheries resources, water purification, protection of the coastline and disease control. The impact of the project will be both regional and global not only taking in considerations the novel methodologies for seaforestation that may be applied elsewhere but also of its future consequences in terms of the enhancement of marine forest ecosystem services.

Funded by: Mecanismo Financeiro do Espaço Económico Europeu (MFEEE/EEA-Grants), DGPM

Led by: CCMAR

 

 

Past Projects

The Gulbenkian Oceans Initiative (GOI) funded an interdisciplinary research project with the purpose of determining the economic value of some of the ocean’s benefits to Portugal. The project’s results seek to contribute directly to the adoption of new policies, or to change existing ones, improving the management of maritime activities and ensure the protection of marine ecosystems.

The research project was carried out by two research institutions, resulting in the integration of natural sciences (CESAM, at the University of Aveiro) and economics (Nova School of Business & Economics). Their interdisciplinary approach involved joint work between natural science and social science researchers, thus meaningfully combining knowledge on how marine ecosystems work, with knowledge on how people use those ecosystems.

Research efforts were focused on the marine area between Peniche and Nazaré. The project sought to produce a textbook example of economic valuation of the benefits of marine ecosystems, and of how this knowledge contributes to improve decision-making processes and raise marine environmental awareness.

Partners: Universidade de Aveiro - CESAM

Funded by: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian

More information: https://gulbenkian.pt/en/initiatives/gulbenkian-oceans-initiative/

Policy Briefs:

On nature’s shoulders: Riding the big waves in Nazaré
Authors: Maria A. Cunha-e-Sá, Rita Freitas, Luís C. Nunes e Vladimir Otrachshenko

Marine Renewable Energy in Portugal
Authors: Maria A. Cunha-e-Sá, Ana Faria Lopes, Filipa Saldanha
 

The purpose of this project is to produce a guide that shall provide potential investors with the most relevant up-to-date information on both established and emergent sectors that compose the blue economy in Portugal in order to create economic value and foster sustainable growth.

Funded by: Fundação Luso-Americana para o Desenvolvimento

In this project, we will first study the national market for biodiesel from both the demand and the supply side before performing a Life-Cycle Analysis (LCA) of the production of biodiesel from recycling waste cooking oils. The project will also consider the externalities and the social-economic impacts generated by this production and include a discussion of the results and implications for policy-making.

Funded by: Prio

The purpose of this project is to deliver regional forestry/land use models, providing scientific tools to inform forest policy. It builds upon multidisciplinary work to develop state-of-the-art age/size-structured and process-based forest models for some of the main Portuguese tree species.  We propose to evaluate the economic potential of Portuguese forests, discussing improvement on current forest management practices and the impact of climate change on forest productivity.

Funded by: Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
 

Worldwide marine ecosystem services are under increasing pressure from competing human-usages, such as aquaculture, sea transport, energy production, conservation, fishing, and recreation. This interdisciplinary project rooted in economics, with contributions from natural and other social sciences, aims to investigate how global changes in climate and human activities affect the usage and importance of ecosystem services (ES) spatially and across groups of people. Illustrative examples from the north of Norway and the northwestern and southern coasts of Portugal are considered. In particular, four case studies covering economic sectors of present and potential economic importance in the two countries, namely related to aquaculture, marine fishing tourism, mining, sea transport, and oil spills are selected. Based on the results obtained from these comparative studies, this project aims at contributing to improve policy design regarding marine ES both at the Norwegian and EU levels, where expectations regarding Blue Growth and the marine bio-economy are high.

Partners: University of Tromsø, University of Stavanger, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Funded by: Research Council of Norway and Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Portugal.

This main goal of this project is to contribute to the prevention of the wildfires in Portugal. The main task of the Environmental Economics KC is to investigate the effects of fire hazard on the management of a naturally regenerating forest stand.

Led by: Rotterdam School of Management

Partners: Commonland, The Spanish National Research Council, United Nations University

Funded by:Erasmus+

More information:  https://www.rsm.nl/research/departments/news/detail/14930-five-new-sustainable-business-study-cases-for-restoring-landscapes/

Output: https://www.rsm.nl/cdc/case-catalogue/detail/85297-reborn-from-ashes-the-alvares-project/

The study “Do made in ao created in: um novo paradigma para a economia portuguesa” identifies obstacles and opportunities and aims to contribute to the definition of public policies that promote structural change in the Portuguese economy, making knowledge, qualifications, and innovation as pivotal elements for a new development model: the created-in model.
The study was organised in seven areas: Economic Environment (João Jálles, ISEG, ULisboa), Scientific and Technological System (Tiago Sequeira, FEUC, UCoimbra), Qualifications and Labour Market (José Varejão, FEP, UPorto), SMEs and Productivity (Miguel Portela, EEG, UMinho), Territory and Infrastructures (IST, ULisboa), Foreign Direct Investment and Global Value Chains (Luís Catão, ISEG, ULisboa), National Strategy for the Sea (Renato Rosa, Nova SBE, UNova de Lisboa).
The research was accompanied by a Committee of national and international experts: David Autor (MIT), Ricardo Reis (LSE), Sérgio Rebelo (Kellogg School of Management), Thomas Philippon (NYU), Andrés Rodríguez-Pose (LSE), Arlindo Oliveira (IST, ULisboa), Tiago Pitta e Cunha (Oceano Azul Foundation), Georg Schütte (Volkswagen Foundation) and Gonçalo Saraiva Matias (Francisco Manuel dos Santos Foundation).
 

More information: https://www.ffms.pt/FileDownload/7d6c465b-0c0f-4fea-92bb-62af3a85f222/do-made-in-ao-created-in-um-novo-paradigma-para-a-economia-portuguesa

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