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Research article2016Peer reviewedOpen access

An indicator framework for assessing ecosystem services in support of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020

Maes, Joachim; Bengtsson, Jan; Snäll, Tord; Lavalle, Carlo


In the EU, the mapping and assessment of ecosystems and their services, abbreviated to MAES, is seen as a key action for the advancement of biodiversity objectives, and also to inform the development and implementation of related policies on water, climate, agriculture, forest, marine and regional planning. In this study, we present the development of an analytical framework which ensures that consistent approaches are used throughout the EU. It is framed by a broad set of key policy questions and structured around a conceptual framework that links human societies and their well-being with the environment. Next, this framework is tested through four thematic pilot studies, including stakeholders and experts working at different scales and governance levels, which contributed indicators to assess the state of ecosystem services. Indicators were scored according to different criteria and assorted per ecosystem type and ecosystem services using the common international classification of ecosystem services (CICES) as typology. We concluded that there is potential to develop a first EU wide ecosystem assessment on the basis of existing data if they are combined in a creative way. However, substantial data gaps remain to be filled before a fully integrated and complete ecosystem assessment can be carried out. (C) 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.


EU Biodiversity Strategy; CICES; Indicators; MAES; Natural Capital

Published in

Ecosystem Services
2016, Volume: 17, pages: 14-23