Towards a Europe-wide integrated framework for mapping and assessment of ecosystem services

With the aim of supporting EU countries in the Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES) process, ESMERALDA held a dedicated workshop to look at and discuss existing methods and how they could be used as part of an integrated assessment. 

The workshop, which took place from 14 to 16 April 2016 in Nottingham, UK, brought together 51 representatives from countries across Europe, including all ESMERALDA partners, together with potential new consortium members.

Participants at the ESMERALDA Workshop in Nottingham, UK, 14-16 April 2016; Photo Credit: Pensoft

Using results from existing and ongoing ESMERALDA reports, participants looked at developing a common understanding within ESMERALDA of methods for mapping and assessing ecosystems and their services, and how they could be used in the context of different ecosystem types, services, "tiers" and spatial scales, cross-referenced to the CICES framework.

ESMERALDA aims at supporting European countries in fulfilling their duties in relation to the EU Biodiversity Strategy’s Target 2 Action 5 "Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services" (MAES). In the second project phase that has just been started, ESMERALDA will develop a first version of a report on flexible methods for mapping and assessing ecosystem services.

In the discussion sessions the experts looked at biophysical, socio-cultural and economic methods in order to identify the potential relationships between ecosystem services and specific methods, as well as the potential linkages between the methods themselves.

Discussing biophysical methods for MAES in one of  five dedicated breakout groups during the workshop; Photo Credit: Pensoft

Results and feedback from the workshop will serve as a basis for the selection of methods to be used and tested within the project’s selected case studies. The final aim is to get an overview of available methods, their strengths and weaknesses and potential application for ES mapping and assessment to serve for building a holistic flexible methodology in the next phase of ESMERALDA.


Clockwise from top: Local host from Nottingham Roy Haines-Young on quantification of ecosystem services; ESMERALDA Coordinator Benjamin Burkhard opening the workshop; Field trip at the Melbourne Parklands; Photo Credits: Pensoft