Dilemma Strict Rules or Flexibility

If the effects of climate change lead to shifting ecological zones, like illustrated in Fig. 5.16, the question may be raised if existing policies in the form of directives, Natura 2000 and a concept like the Ecological Main Structure are able to follow the changes and provide nature enough space and flexibility to deal with climate change.

If the directives, Natura 2000 and the spatial policies are analysed these instruments show little possibilities to constantly adapt regulations, standards or spatial outlines. And due to climate change this flexibility is exactly what is needed for species to be able to move along with shifting climate zones. The future location and habitats for moving species and ecosystems are to a certain extend unpredictable. And because the regulations use predictability, like the rule to protect the existing species and habitats and the exact definition of ecological spots, as a starting point a misfits appears between demands of the future and fixed rules of today. Therefore it is hard to create a climate proof ecological structure and obey the directives and spatial patterns at the same time. Hence, if the regulations are securely sustained, a climate proof development of the ecological system is obstructed. New strategies need to be developed in order to create the opportunity for nature to move along with changing climate zones.

The Netherlands seem the best example of a high density of people and functions, where it is necessary to formulate quite exact regulations and decisions on the strict defined exact locations for the Ecological Main Structure. In such a situation regulations need to be very exact and become oppressing. Here, the adaptation of nature to climate change is extremely necessary, but the space to do so is smallest. Therefore, the Dutch situation and solutions is taken as an example how a region can deal with this dilemma.

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