EU-funded project ESMERALDA is developing ways to assess Europe's biodiverse ecosystems and their many contributions to society and the economy.
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A reduction in biodiversity could affect Europe’s economic health and its high standard of living. Economic and population growth, changes in land use, intensive agriculture, pollution and climate change are some of the main factors that lead to biodiversity loss – reducing the ability of Europe’s ecosystems to sustain future generations.
For Europe the goals are clear – preserve the continent’s rich biodiversity and use biological resources sustainably. As part of this effort, ESMERALDA is developing methodologies, databases and tools for assessing biodiversity and the related ‘services’, or resources, that benefit society. Such services include, for example, the provision of drinking water, food, air and recreation.
The project’s methodologies will be designed as building blocks for pan-European and regional assessments of ecosystems and their services. The assessments are essential to informed decision-making by policymakers. The project will also develop an online data sharing platform to help coordinate European research on ecosystems. The platform will allow stakeholders to exchange information, data and methodologies.
ESMERALDA’s research supports the European Commission's Biodiversity Strategy 2020, which aims to prevent the loss of biological diversity. The project brings together scientists, experts and stakeholders from 25 partner organisations in 20 European countries.