Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services in Europe

MAES

Geographical coverage

Geographical scale of the assessment Regional
Country or countries covered Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, Denmark, France, United Kingdom, Croatia, Spain, Latvia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Poland, Romania, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden
Any other necessary information or explanation for identifying the location of the assessment, including site or region name

European Union

Conceptual framework, methodology and scope

Assessment objectives

• Inform policy decisions and policy implementation in many policy areas dependent on ecosystems and their services, such as nature and biodiversity (e.g. contribution of protected areas to ecosystem services, priority setting for ecosystem restoration), territorial cohesion, agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

• Outputs can also inform policy development and implementation in other domains such as transport and energy.

• Contribute to the assessment of the economic value of ecosystem services, and promote the integration of these values into accounting and reporting systems at EU and national level by 2020.

• Ultimately, the assessment of ecosystems and ecosystem services in the European region will be undertaken as a contribution to the global Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

Mandate for the assessment

The Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services in Europe (MAES) is one of the key actions of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020.

Conceptual framework and/or methodology used for the assessment

Other (please specify)

An analytical framework for ecosystem assessment and mapping (i.e. conceptual model, policy questions, typology for assessing and mapping ecosystems and their services) is being developed within a mandated working group (MAES working group), set under the Common Implementation Framework of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. The conceptual model is based on the ecosystem services cascade model, the TEEB framework, and the UK National Ecosystem Assessment. It contains elements of the DPSIR framework and is adapted to better fit to the needs of an EU wide ecosystem assessment under the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy. It is expected to contribute to and benefit from the development of IPBES methodological framework parallel. There will be many subsequent iterations, improvements and refinements. The deadline for establishing the framework for monitoring and assessment of ecosystems and having an initial overview of the extent and status of the different ecosystems across Europe is 2014.

URL or copy of conceptual framework developed or adapted

https://circabc.europa.eu/faces/jsp/extension/wai/navigation/container.jsp

System(s) assessed

  • Marine
  • Coastal
  • Inland water
  • Forest and woodland
  • Cultivated/Agricultural land
  • Grassland
  • Mountain
  • Dryland
  • Urban
  • Heathland and shrub
  • Sparsely vegetated land
  • Rivers and lakes

Species groups assessed

EUNIS (see Annexes to EU 2010 Biodiversity Baseline http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/eu-2010-biodiversity-baseline)

Ecosystem services/functions assessed

Provisioning

  • Food
  • Water
  • Timber/fibres
  • Genetic resources
  • Medicinal resources
  • Ornamental resources
  • Energy/fuel
  • More details provided in CICES: www.cices.eu

Regulating

  • Air quality
  • Climate regulation
  • Moderation of extreme events
  • Regulation of water flows
  • Regulation of water quality
  • Waste treatment
  • Erosion prevention
  • Pollination
  • Pest and disease control
  • Maintenance of life cycles of migratory species (incl. nursery service)
  • More details provided in CICES: www.cices.eu
  • Maintenance of genetic diversity (especially in gene pool protection)

Supporting Services/Functions

  • Habitat maintenance
  • Nutrient cycling
  • Primary production

Cultural Services

  • Recreation and tourism
  • Aesthetic information
  • More details provided in CICES: www.cices.eu

Scope of assessment includes

Drivers of change in systems and services

Yes

Impacts of change in services on human well-being

Yes

Options for responding/interventions to the trends observed

Yes

Explicit consideration of the role of biodiversity in the systems and services covered by the assessment

Yes

Timing of the assessment

Year assessment started

2012

Year assessment finished

Ongoing

If ongoing, year assessment is anticipated to finish

2020

Periodicity of assessment

Unknown

Assessment outputs

Report(s)

EEA Technical report No 13/2011 - An experimental framework for ecosystem capital accounting in Europe.
An_experimental_framework_for_ecosystem_capital_accounting_in_Europe.PDF

PEER Report No 3, 2011. A spatial assessment of ecosystem services in Europe: methods, case studies and policy analysis - phase 1.
PEER_report_3_phase_1.pdf

PEER Report No 4, 2012. A spatial assessment of ecosystem services in Europe:methods, case studies and policy analysis. - phase 2.
report_full5_small2_01.pdf

Technical report No 12/2010. EU 2010 Biodiversity Baseline.
EU_2010_Biodiversity_baseline.pdf

Communication materials (e.g. brochure, presentations, posters, audio-visual media)

First Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services in Europe, MAES leaflet
maes-leaflet.pdf

Journal publications

Training materials

Other documents/outputs

Tools and processes

Tools and approaches used in the assessment

  • Modelling
  • Trade-off analysis
  • Geospatial analysis
  • Indicators
  • Scenarios
  • Economic valuation
  • Social (non-monetary) valuation
  • Biophysical baseline mapping and assessment of the status of major ecosystems
  • Biophysical baseline mapping and assessment of defined ecosystem services
  • Alignment of ecosystem service assessments with scenarios of future changes (Future outlooks), developed together with policy makers and stakeholders to ensure their salience and legitimacy and consequently the use of the results in decision making
  • Valuation of ecosystem services for baseline and contrasting scenarios and integration into environmental and economic accounting.
  • Ecosystem typology based on EUNIS and Corine Land Cover
  • Typology of ecosystem services (CICES, http://cices.eu)
  • Methods, case-studies and policy analysis for spatial assessment of ecosystem services in Europe published by the Partnership for European Environmental Research (PEER)
  • EU Research project on Operationalization of natural capital and ecosystem services: from concepts to real-world applications (Open-NESS), FP7, 2012
  • A matrix cross tabulating broad ecosystems with their services (similar to the matrix used in RUBICODE and in the UK NEA) will be used to "map" present knowledge and knowledge gaps at different spatial scales and to facilitate the selection of a set of main ecosystems for status assessment and defined services for mapping by 2014. The matrix will also be used as a communication tool.
  • A decision support tool that enables the construction and visualization of different land use futures in a spatially explicit manner is currently being developed (“Quickscan”)
  • JRC and EEA are evaluating valuation methods to be feasible for national and European assessments
  • The FP7 VOLANTE project develops visions for land use in Europe (2040) and couples this through land use modelling to an assessment of ecosystem services
  • JRC develops and integrated modelling tool coupling the land use modelling platform to the delivery of ecosystem services and changes in biodiversity

Process used for stakeholder engagement in the assessment process and which component

Preliminary studies for European ecosystem assessments started in 2007 (under “EURECA” project) within the context of the follow-up to the 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. EURECA project included a series of expert workshops on some pilot cases (e.g. Natura 2000, agriculture, marine) and scenarios (see http://biodiversity.europa.eu/ecosystem-assessments/events-1/eureca-meetings/). Following the adoption of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2010 in May 2011, the process was extended to EU institutions and Member States.

In 2012, a Working Group on Mapping and Assessment on Ecosystems and their Services (MAES) was set up under the Common Implementation Framework (CIF) of the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy.

Annual stakeholder workshops are organised to allow for broader participation and engagement. Thematic workshop (e.g. agriculture, freshwater, marine) will be organised in 2013 to allow for more in-depth discussion with different sectors and stakeholders.

Mechanisms will also be explored to (i) engage with the scientific community, through scientific societies and networks and with the support of DG Research and Innovation and (ii) inform the implementation of the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (Horizon 2020) agenda in relation to the knowledge base for biodiversity policy.

Key stakeholder groups engaged

The membership of the MAES working group and its associated steering group is limited in number and the nature of the discussion in the group is predominantly technical. The Co-ordination Group for Biodiversity and Nature (CGBN) is the forum in which the wider policy issues related to the work of MAES are discussed. The Biodiversity and Nature Directors are overseeing the whole process and providing strategic guidance.

The number of people directly involved in the assessment process

10-100

Incorporation of scientific and other types of knowledge

  • Scientific information only
  • Resource experts (e.g. foresters etc)
  • Traditional/local knowledge
  • Citizen science
  • As a first step, it is proposed to build on the current knowledge reported under the Birds and Habitats Directives, the Water Framework Directive, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, and other relevant data flows reported under environmental legislation, including spatial data such as the Natura 2000 network, river basins, marine regions, etc. Reliable data on the status of different taxonomic groups such as EU Red-Lists or independent scientific reports on the status of different taxonomic groups such as birds and butterflies will also be taken into account.
  • Additional information will be delivered by several recently completed or on-going research projects and initiatives, in particular Rubicode (http://www.rubicode.net/rubicode/index.html), TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity http://www.teebweb.org/), VOLANTE (http://www.volante-project.eu/) and PRESS (JRC led PEER initiative on mapping ecosystem services http://www.peer.eu/projects/press/).
  • Other relevant research projects: http://biodiversity.europa.eu/ecosystem-assessments/links

Supporting documentation for specific approaches, methodology or criteria developed and/or used to integrate knowledge systems into the assessment

Service contract on mapping of ecosystems and services in EU and its MS (2012-2015) GMES local ecosystem services mapping-related component of GIO land

Assessment reports peer reviewed

No

Data

Accessibility of data used in assessment

An integrated assessment of specific services delivered by a socio-ecological system typically will need to draw on a wide range of data sources. Some of these date are reported by countries to fulfil their obligations under EU Directives (e.g. Art 17 of the Habitats Directive, WFD reporting, MSFD reporting). Other sources of information include indicators, data based on physical ecosystem accounts (e.g. measurement of key ecosystem structures, functions & services in physical units, and measurement of ecosystem state and degradation). Finally, an assessment will have to include socio-economic information (e.g. employment in certain sectors, economic output). The accessible data will be made available through the Biodiversity Information System for Europe.

Policy impact

Impacts the assessment has had on policy and/or decision making, as evidenced through policy references and actions

There is a clear policy demand since the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy is calling Member States with the assistance of the European Commission to map and assess ecosystems and their services in their national territory by 2014, to assess the economic value of such services, and promote the integration of these values into accounting and reporting systems at EU and national level by 2020.

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/biodiversity/comm2006/2020.htm
2020_Biod_brochure_final_lowres.pdf

Independent or other review on policy impact of the assessment

No

Lessons learnt for future assessments from these reviews

Capacity building

Capacity building needs identified during the assessment

Need for financial support, need for methodological guidance (e.g. on valuation methods), need for research to identify and address knowledge gaps.

Actions taken by the assessment to build capacity

Network and sharing experiences, Workshops, Developing/promoting and providing access to support tools

How have gaps in capacity been communicated to the different stakeholders

Open-ended discussion with DG research, support contracts.

Knowledge generation

Gaps in knowledge identified from the assessment

How gaps in knowledge have been communicated to the different stakeholders

Mechanisms are being explored to (i) engage with the scientific community, through scientific societies and networks (e.g. AlterNET, EPBRS, SPIRAL, KNEU) and with the support of DG Research and (ii) Inform the implementation of the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (Horizon 2020) agenda in relation to the knowledge base for biodiversity policy.

Additional relevant information

Preliminary studies for European ecosystem assessments started in 2007 (under “EURECA” project, incl. series of expert workshops: http://biodiversity.europa.eu/ecosystem-assessments/events-1/eureca-meetings/), within the context of the follow-up to the 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. EURECA focused on some pilot cases (e.g. Natura 2000, agriculture, marine). This process was extended to EU institutions and Member States following the adoption of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2010 in May 2011, which foresees the delivery of mapping and assessment of ecosystems and their services in Europe by 2014.