Ecosystem Assessment Flanders

Geographical coverage

Geographical scale of the assessment Sub-national
Country or countries covered Belgium
Any other necessary information or explanation for identifying the location of the assessment, including site or region name

The assessment covers the region of Flanders (Northern part of Belgium)

Conceptual framework, methodology and scope

Assessment objectives

  • Visualize the benefits that people receive from ecosystems and describe the drivers affecting the demand, supply and use of ecosystem services.

  • Provide a knowledge base for the sustainable management of ecosystems and their services.

  • Explore response options for the sustainable management of ecosystems and their services.

  • Encourage cross-sectoral communication and collaboration in the development of a sustainable management of ecosystems and their services.

Mandate for the assessment

According to the Nature Decree (legislation of the Flemish Government), the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO) is mandated to report biennially on the state of nature in Flanders (Northern part of Belgium). The current reporting cycle is conceived as an ecosystem assessment for Flanders and consists of three successive phases. The first phase (NARA-T) describes the state and trends of ecosystems and their services in Flanders and will be finished by the beginning 2015. The second phase (NARA-B) is an evaluation of ecosystem services related policy in Flanders and will be finished in 2016. The final phase (NARA-S) is a scenario report (end 2018) that will explore future scenarios for green infrastructure in Flanders.

Conceptual framework and/or methodology used for the assessment

Other (please specify)

Own framework, based on ESS-cascade (Haines-Young) but with elements of the MA- and TEEB-frameworks as well.

URL or copy of conceptual framework developed or adapted (in Dutch)

System(s) assessed

  • Inland water
  • Forest and woodland
  • Cultivated/Agricultural land
  • Grassland
  • Urban

Species groups assessed

no specific species groups, only ecosystems

Ecosystem services/functions assessed


  • Food
  • Water
  • Timber/fibres
  • Energy/fuel


  • Air quality
  • Climate regulation
  • Moderation of extreme events
  • Regulation of water flows
  • Regulation of water quality
  • Erosion prevention
  • Pollination
  • Pest and disease control
  • Regulation of noise

Supporting Services/Functions

  • Soil formation and fertility

Cultural Services

  • Recreation and tourism
  • Natural surroundings around build-up areas

Scope of assessment includes

Drivers of change in systems and services


Impacts of change in services on human well-being


Options for responding/interventions to the trends observed


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


Timing of the assessment

Year assessment started


Year assessment finished


If ongoing, year assessment is anticipated to finish


Periodicity of assessment

One off

Assessment outputs


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

Poster Flanders ecosystem assessment - Phase I (2014)

Poster management structure Flanders ecosystem assessment

Presentation Flanders ecosystem assessment at EU High-Level Conference on Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES) in Europe - 22 May 2014 -Brussels

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

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

Stakeholders are consulted during the development of the terms of reference for the different phases of the assessment and are involved in the review proces of the reports

Key stakeholder groups engaged

  • Flemish administration (departments and executive agencies)
  • Scientific community
  • NGO and professional interest groups (e.g. nature conservation organisations, farmer organisation, land owner organisations, …)

The number of people directly involved in the assessment process

Less than 10

Incorporation of scientific and other types of knowledge

  • Scientific information only
  • Resource experts (e.g. foresters etc)

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

Assessment reports peer reviewed



Accessibility of data used in assessment

open data access

Policy impact

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

not yet evaluated

Independent or other review on policy impact of the assessment


Lessons learnt for future assessments from these reviews

not yet available

Capacity building

Capacity building needs identified during the assessment


Actions taken by the assessment to build capacity

Network and sharing experiences, Sharing of data/repatriation of data, Workshops, Communication and awareness raising

How have gaps in capacity been communicated to the different stakeholders


Knowledge generation

Gaps in knowledge identified from the assessment

Knowledge gaps are reported in each of the chapters of the technical report (

How gaps in knowledge have been communicated to the different stakeholders


Additional relevant information