BioScore: biodiversity impact assessment using species sensitivity scores
In 2009 the BioScore biodiversity impact assessment tool was developed as part of a research project funded by EC DG Research and Technological Development FP6. The project was coordinated by ECNC and implemented by a consortium of nine partners. PBL (Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency), together with Alterra, was in charge of the technical development of the BioScore database and web tool. At the time of delivery it was recognized that BioScore was a first version and that there was room for improvement.
Since then PBL has been actively using the BioScore tool for a number of Europe-wide scenario studies and further developed BioScore into BioScore 2.0 so that it could be used for the Netherlands Nature Assessment (Natuurverkenning) 2015.
This project aimed to contribute to the process, as led by PBL, of further developing BioScore into a biodiversity impact assessment tool for wider European and Dutch applications so as to support decision-making at relevant levels. To achieve this ECNC organized a European review workshop in autumn 2014 to test BioScore 2.0 and facilitated cooperation and ownership of the tool.
The four main target groups of the project were national experts on ecological policy models; representatives of some of the key species data holders; representatives of EU Institutions; and project partners.
The BioScore project developed a tool for linking pressures from policy sectors to the (change in the) state of biodiversity as measured by the presence and abundance of individual species. The tool contains a database that holds information on the ecological preferences of individual species in relation to individual sectoral pressures and relating to selected Community policies as well as the EU headline biodiversity indicators. This tool can be applied for assessing possible impacts of changes in selected environmental conditions. The database is able to assess more detailed impacts and the effectiveness of biodiversity conservation policies based on historic data as well as forecast future impacts based on existing scenario studies.
- ECNC-European Centre for Nature Conservation (Coordination)
- PBL - Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, the Netherlands
- INBO/BCEurope - Research Institute for Nature and Forest/Butterfly Conservation Europe, Belgium
- WI - Wetlands International
- Alterra - Green World Research, the Netherlands
- NINA - Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Norway
- Sapienza Università di Roma, Department of Animal and Human Biology, Italy
- EFI - European Forest Institute
- EKBY - Greek Biotope/Wetland Centre, Greece
The BioScore steering committee included representatives from policymaking, international NGOs, data providers, science, and related European projects. It advised the project team on its direction, reviewed results and ensured sufficient linkages with other initiatives.
BioScore was a Specific Targeted Research project under the EU Sixth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP6), Priority 8.1.B.1: Sustainable management of Europe's natural resources; contract number FP6-022661. Co-funding of the project partners was as follows:
- ECNC was co-funded by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency;
- Alterra was co-funded by Alterra Wageningen UR and the Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality;
- NINA was co-funded by the Norwegian Research Council and NINA's internal funds;
- EFI was co-funded by the European Forest Institute's core funding, which comes partly from a grant of the Finnish Government, and partly from other sources, such as membership fees;
- EKBY was co-funded by The Goulandris Natural History Museum.
The objective of the BioScore project was to develop a cost-effective tool that allows for monitoring and assessment of the impacts of key drivers and pressures from Community policies on biodiversity (species), with the ultimate aim of helping to halt the loss of biodiversity in the EU by 2010. The operational goals of this project were to:
- assemble the necessary knowledge base (policy, science, data) for developing the tool;
- build a cost-effective impact assessment tool in the form of a European species database with sensitivity scores;
- apply the tool for the purpose of assessing the impacts of EU policies on biodiversity;
- apply the tool for analysing the effectiveness of European policy responses;
- apply the tool for modelling European-wide scenarios for selected drivers (e.g. forestry and climate change);
- integrate the knowledge gained from developing and testing the tool on species sensitivities into an existing common monitoring framework to assess the impact of selected pressures on biodiversity;
- propose incentives for a wide uptake of the tool.
The BioScore tool is applied in a number of assessment studies:
- Developing a methodology for a species-based and spatially explicit indicator for biodiversity on agricultural land in the EU (Overmars et al., 2014)
- Greening the Common Agricultural Policy: impacts on farmland biodiversity on an EU scale (van Zeijts et al., 2011)
- Is biofuel policy harming biodiversity in Europe? (Eggers et al., 2009)