Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity Assessment


Mapping of ecosystems and their services in the EU and its Member States

The mapping of ecosystems and their services in Europe is a necessary step for setting the baseline on which sound priorities can be defined for maintaining and enhancing our natural capital and its value, and creating innovative solutions to build on nature's services. Various sectors, in- and outside the environment, begin to use the concept of ecosystem services to enhance, measure and assess sustainable, smart and inclusive growth, as contribution to the Europe 2020 Strategy ‘A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’, namely climate change and innovation, in particular through the resource efficiency flagship initiative.

The EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 ‘Our life insurance, our natural capital’ highlights that the Commission will continue its work to strengthen the knowledge base to underpin policy with up to date scientific data and information, including on mapping and assessing the state of ecosystems and their services in Europe. Under target 2 ‘By 2020, ecosystems and their services are maintained and enhanced by establishing green infrastructure and restoring at least 15% of degraded ecosystems’, Action 5 states explicitly that, in order to improve our knowledge of ecosystems and their services in the EU, ‘Member States, with the assistance of the Commission, will map and assess the state of ecosystems and their services in their national territory by 2014’.


The aim of this contract (Mapping of ecosystems and their services in the EU and its Member States - MESEU) was to provide assistance on behalf of and in cooperation with the European Commission to the Member States in the context of Action 5 of the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy, on the mapping and assessment of the state of ecosystems and their services in their national territories, making best use of studies and work already undertaken at EU and Member State levels. The project compared and tested EU methods on pilot cases from Member States in order to identify possible commonalities and facilitate cross-linkages between national/subnational assessments and the work carried out at EU level.

Time frame

November 2013 until November 2014


  • Alterra, the Netherlands (project coordinator)
  • ECNC, the Netherlands
  • Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), United Kingdom
  • Environment Agency Austria (EAA)
  • ETH Zurich PLUS-Chair of Planning of Landscape and Urban Systems, Switzerland
  • Instituut voor Bos en NatuurOnderzoek (INBO), Belgium
  • Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM), Spain


European Commission DG Environment