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Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services - MAES

In a nutshell

The Biodiversity Strategy outlines a number of targets and precise actions to stop biodiversity loss. By mapping out and assessing the state and trends of ecosystems and their services, we can help inform the policy decisions affecting the environment.

In practice

The Biodiversity Strategy called on Member States to map and assess the state of ecosystems and their services in their national territory with the assistance of the European Commission. They must also 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 (see Target 2, Action 5).

This specific action aims to provide a knowledge base on ecosystems and their services in Europe. It underpins the achievement of all 6 targets of the strategy and is also relevant to a number of other EU sectoral policies such as agriculture, maritime affairs and fisheries, and cohesion.

A coherent analytical framework as well as common typologies of ecosystems for mapping and a typology of ecosystem services for accounting have been developed (see first technical report PDF, 2013) to be applied by the EU and its Member States in order to ensure consistent approaches. It contributed to the sub-global assessments of ecosystems and ecosystem services under the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem services (IPBES). A second technical report PDF (2014) proposed an initial set of indicators that could be used at European and Member State's level to map and assess biodiversity, ecosystem condition and ecosystem services.

The third technical report PDF (2016) is taking stock of the available information to map and assess the condition of Europe's ecosystems. The fourth technical report PDF (2016) is on mapping and assessment of urban ecosystems and their services. The fifth technical report PDF (2018) is providing an integrated analytical framework and set of indicators for mapping and assessing the condition of ecosystems in the EU.

A report on Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services – Soil ecosystems has been published by Deltares in March 2018 in support of the implementation of the EU Soil Thematic Strategy.

With regard to the integration of ecosystems and their services into accounting systems, a sixth technical methodological report (including case studies) has been published in 2019.

See more information on Natural Capital Accounting on Europa:

All Member States are actively involved in mapping and assessing the state of ecosystems and their services in their national territory (see country progress. At EU level also, a lot of MAES-related activities are supported by the European Environment Agency and its Topic Centres, the Joint Research Centre, Eurostat, DG Research & Innovation.

A high level MAES Conference was organised by the Finnish Presidency on 13 December 2019 in Helsinki where the preliminary quantified outcomes were presented at EU, Member States and stakeholder level as well as the needs from users. See webstreaming and presentations.

See update on progress on BISE.

Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)

In a nutshell

IPBES is the intergovernmental body, which assesses the state of biodiversity and of the ecosystem services it provides to society, in response to requests from decision makers.

Find out more

In practice

The Summary for policy makers of the first IPBES global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services was adopted on 6 May 2019.

A presentation of the report by one of the co-chairs, Prof. Sandra Diaz, has been webstreamed and the slides are available.

Previous IPBES reports can be found here.

For more information

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