Working paper on functional relationships between ecosystem characteristics and services in support of condition assessments - ETC/BD Working paper N°A/2017

01 Dec 2017


Assessments of ecosystems and their services (ES) are a relatively new and intensively expanding field connecting policy and science. The EU MAES assessment framework provides a logical and operative structure for such assessments. A key element of the MAES framework is the concept of ecosystem condition, which can establish the “missing link” between the various ecosystem types and the services enjoyed by humans. Nevertheless, both the concept of ecosystem condition and its potential indicators are still under discussion and development. This report documents ETC BD work done in 2017 to support the description of functional relationships between ecosystem characteristics (including biodiversity), and ecosystem services capacities. The report builds on the detailed reanalysis of a major systematic review exercise performed by the OpenNESS EU FP7 project, thus synthesizing scientific information for direct policy use. Altogether 100 scientific papers describing 10 ES are reanalysed, identifying 295 documented ecosystem characteristic ~ ecosystem service relationships. The most studied ecosystem types are croplands, forests, and grasslands, and the most relevant ecosystem characteristics include some aspects of species diversity, biomass, management intensity, and the proximity of other habitat types (typically small seminatural features) in the landscape.

Prepared by: Bálint Czúcz (from ETC/BD-MNHN, FR), Martin Götzl, Elisabeth Schwaiger, Bernhard Schwarzl and Gabriele Sonderegger (from ETC/BD partner UBA, AT)