Review of recent literature on mapping ecosystem services and analysis of methods used - ETC/BD Working paper N°B/2013

01 Jul 2013


Abstract: In recent years a large number of research activities have focused on ecosystem services, resulting in a substantial amount of studies with various methodological approaches and results. Several studies have pointed out the importance of providing maps on ecosystem services as a very valuable tool for decision makers at regional, national and EU level. This literature review provides an overview of recently published literature on mapping of ecosystem services (ESS) and ecosystem capacities (ESC) to deliver ecosystem services in Europe, from regional to continental scale. The review analysis 45 examples of spatial mapping exercises and concludes that the approaches vary considerably in relation to the scale and scope of the analysis as well as in the selection of the ESS assessed. Information on the indicators used for quantifying ecosystem capacities and ecosystem services and details on the spatial coverage of the mapping examples was compiled to facilitate the comparison of the results of the studies. In addition, information on the data used and their sources, as well as a short description of the methodological approaches used were provided. In relation to the terminology, the review concludes that there is no consistent definition for the term ecosystem services and there is a lack of homogeneous differentiation between ecosystem functions and ecosystem services.

Prepared by: Martin Götzl, Maria Tiefenbach and Peter Tramberend (from ETC/BD partner UBA, AT), Sophie Condé (from ETC/BD-MNHN, FR)