Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity Assessment


Environmental Risk Assessment for European Agriculture

EnRisk (Environmental Risk Assessment for European Agriculture) was an EU Concerted Action that identified environmental risk zones by testing agri-environmental indicators and environmental databases and their application for environmental risk assessment throughout Europe. It built on previous work carried out in the ELISA project.


To carry out environmental risk assessments for European agriculture for five themes:

  • soil erosion;
  • eutrophication;
  • pesticide use;
  • biodiversity loss;
  • landscape change.


  • To investigate the role of risk assessment as a decision support tool;
  • To test existing data and indicators;
  • To identify and map environmental risk zones at European and local level;
  • To formulate policy and methodology recommendations.

Scientific added value

  • Agri-environmental indicators were tested for the concrete purpose of environmental risk assessment. This provided insight into their suitability for this purpose.
  • The type of integrated environmental risk assessment - linking five themes and their interrelations and the cause-effect relations with agricultural land-use practices being done by EnRisk had never been done before.
  • The focus of conventional risk assessment is on ecotoxicology and human health, whereas EnRisk looked at ecological risk assessment by assessing risk to ecosystems and their components.
  • Assessing risks from agriculture to biodiversity and landscapes had never been tried before in Europe and called for innovative thinking when incorporating aspects of vulnerability, probability of risk, and acceptable threshold levels.

Time frame

The project ran from October 2001 to November 2004.


  • Institute for Soil Research (IBF), University of Agricultural Sciences, Vienna, Austria
  • Agricultural Economics Research Institute, Wageningen University and Research Centre, the Netherlands
  • Centro de Investigaciones Ambientales de la Comunidad de Madrid Fernando Gonzalez Bernáldez, Spain
  • Laboratory for Experimental Geomorphology, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium
  • The NatureBureau, UK
  • Federal Biological Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry, Germany
  • EUCC the Coastal Union
  • Alterra - Green World Research, the Netherlands
  • The Natural History Museum, UK
  • UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre


EnRisk was financed by the European Commission as a Concerted Action under the theme Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources of the Fifth Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration Activities.


The outputs of the EnRisk project were: