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Using the Ecological Focus Area (EFA) calculator to assess the potential impact of EFA implementation on biodiversity and ecosystem services

This study is a first attempt to use the EFA (Ecological Focus Area) calculator as a tool to support an assessment of policy impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services of the EFA implementation at European level. Potential impacts at NUTS3 level were calculated using the data on EFA implementation in 2015. Results show the existence of a clear correspondence between potential impacts and EFA types declared. Impact scores for biodiversity demonstrate that NUTS3 regions where landscape features represent more than 50% of EFA declared could perform much better than the others while for some specific ecosystem services also other NUTS3 regions show good positive potential impacts: it is the case for the NUTS3 regions where catch crops constitute more than 70% of the EFA declared for the ecosystem service chemical condition of freshwaters, or NUTS3 regions with more than 70% of fallow land declared as EFA for the ecosystem service pollination. By overlaying results obtaiend with the EFA calculator with other sources of information (such as the presence of semi-natural vegetation or water erosion risk areas) it is possible to highlight areas where the policy implementation shows different grades of potential effectiveness.