Integration of biodiversity data in urban assessments - ETC/BD Working paper N°B/2017

01 Nov 2017

Iulian Petchesi

Over 75% of the EU population currently resides in or lives in close proximity to cities, with foreseen increases by 2050 . A frequent consequence of this ongoing urbanization process is the loss of urban green spaces and biodiversity amidst densification processes. Given some potential negative impacts on human well-being and health, there is growing interest in assessing urban biodiversity as a tool to foster conservation measures and ensure the continued supply of integral ecosystem services. However, the urban environment, human well-being and the health and diversity of the species and habitats contained therein are part of a complex and intricate system and are thus challenging to evaluate. While some indicator frameworks look at specific aspects of local development and a restricted set of environmental parameters, there is no standardised methodology or dataset existing to date for conducting an urban biodiversity assessment.

In response to this gap, the present report continues the effort to investigate the potential of integrating Copernicus layers and biodiversity-related European datasets as well as additional city-specific data into urban assessments. One of the main goals of these activities is to develop a concept and derive indicators for a European Urban Biodiversity Index (EUBI) based primarily on these available datasets as well as building on existing urban biodiversity frameworks.

Prepared by: Karl Ruf and Mirko Gregor (from ETC/BD partner Space4environment, LU), Sandra Naumann, McKenna Davis and Keighley McFarland (from ETC/BD partner Ecologic Institute, DE)