National Ecosystem Assessments in Europe: A Review

Research output: Journal contributionsScientific review articlesResearch


  • Matthias Schröter
  • Christian Albert
  • Alexandra Marques
  • Wolke Tobon
  • Sandra Lavorel
  • Joachim Maes
  • Claire Brown
  • Stefan Klotz
  • Aletta Bonn

National ecosystem assessments form an essential knowledge base for safeguarding biodiversity and ecosystem services. We analyze eight European (sub-)national ecosystem assessments (Portugal, United Kingdom, Spain, Norway, Flanders, Netherlands, Finland, and Germany) and compare their objectives, political context, methods, and operationalization. We observed remarkable differences in breadth of the assessment, methods employed, variety of services considered, policy mandates, and funding mechanisms. Biodiversity and ecosystem services are mainly assessed independently, with biodiversity conceptualized as underpinning services, as a source of conflict with services, or as a service in itself. Recommendations derived from our analysis for future ecosystem assessments include the needs to improve the common evidence base, to advance the mapping of services, to consider international flows of services, and to connect more strongly to policy questions. Although the context specificity of national ecosystem assessments is acknowledged as important, a greater harmonization across assessments could help to better inform common European policies and future pan-regional assessments.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)813-828
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 01.10.2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

FP7: Funding number: 308393, 641762