Assessment of marine ecosystem services indicators: Experiences and lessons learned from 14 European case studies

Last modified: 
October 11, 2016 - 9:43am
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2016
Date published: 10/2016
Authors: Ana Lillebø, Francesca Somma, Katja Norén, Jorge Gonçalves, Fátima Alves, Elisabetta Ballarini, Luis Bentes, Malgorzata Bielecka, Boris Chubarenko, Susanne Heise, Valeriy Khokhlov, Dimitris Klaoudatos, Javier Lloret, Piotr Margonski, Atucha Marín, Magdalena Matczak, Amy Oen, Maria Palmieri, Joanna Przedrzymirska, Grzegorz Różyński, Ana Sousa, Lisa Sousa, Yurii Tuchkovenko, Jacek Zaucha
Journal title: Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management
Volume: 12
Issue: 4
Pages: 726 - 734

This article shares the experiences, observations, and discussions that occurred during the completing of an ecosystem services (ES) indicator framework to be used at European Union (EU) and Member States' level. The experience base was drawn from 3 European research projects and 14 associated case study sites that include 13 transitional-water bodies (specifically 8 coastal lagoons, 4 riverine estuaries, and 1 fjord) and 1 coastal-water ecosystem. The ES pertinent to each case study site were identified along with indicators of these ES and data sources that could be used for mapping. During the process, several questions and uncertainties arose, followed by discussion, leading to these main lessons learned: 1) ES identification: Some ES that do not seem important at the European scale emerge as relevant at regional or local scales; 2) ES indicators: When direct indicators are not available, proxies for indicators (indirect indicators) might be used, including combined data on monitoring requirements imposed by EU legislation and international agreements; 3) ES mapping: Boundaries and appropriate data spatial resolution must be established because ES can be mapped at different temporal and spatial scales. We also acknowledge that mapping and assessment of ES supports the dialogue between human well-being and ecological status. From an evidence-based marine planning-process point of view, mapping and assessment of marine ES are of paramount importance to sustainable use of marine natural capital and to halt the loss of marine biodiversity.

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