Green Week: stakeholders put nature in the spotlight

News Published 02 Jun 2015 Last modified 15 Jul 2016, 11:13 AM
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Stakeholders from across Europe are coming together at Green Week to discuss biodiversity and ecosystem services in Europe. The European Environment Agency (EEA) will present its latest findings, recently published in its reports 'State of nature in the EU' and 'The European Environment – state and outlook 2015'. To contribute to the knowledge base, the EEA released today a new technical report on mapping and assessment of ecosystems.

 Image © Katherine Singer, Environment&Me/EEA

Every year the European Commission's Directorate-General for the Environment brings together policy makers, researchers, civil society, businesses and other stakeholders at a large conference in Brussels, Belgium, around an environmental topic central to European environmental policy debate. This year's Green Week focuses on nature and biodiversity. Green Week 2015 will look at the benefits we receive from nature, and the framework in place to protect it.

The European Environment Agency's recent assessments, including The European environment – state and outlook 2015 and State of Nature in the EU, show that Europe's biodiversity is still being eroded, despite significant local improvements. To halt the loss of biodiversity, stabilise and restore degraded ecosystems, the European Union has adopted the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, which sets various targets and actions. An effective implementation of the strategy depends, among others, on the data and information available on biodiversity in Europe. Through its extensive network and close collaboration with partners, the EEA contributes extensively to the knowledge base on Europe's biodiversity.

How to map and assess ecosystems

As part of its contributions to this knowledge base, the EEA published today its new technical report 'European ecosystem assessment – concept, data, and implementation'. The report aims at supporting the implementation of EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, more concretely to Target 2 Action 5 – Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES). It describes, among others, the conceptual framework to map and assess ecosystems in detail as well as the mapping and assessment process. By outlining a coherent framework, the report aims to support Member States and Commission services tasked to carry out ecosystem assessments and making use of the outcomes.

There are different strands of information and data, which can be used in mapping and assessing ecosystems in Europe. The report uses the DPSIR (Drivers, Pressures, State, Impact, Response) approach to put all the relevant information available in a coherent context. The Millennium Assessment identified five major groups of pressures: habitat change, climate change, invasive species, land use management, and pollution and nutrient enrichment. The report builds on these five groups and provides how different ecosystem types (e.g. cropland, forests, freshwater) are affected by each pressure group. The report includes a series of maps of Europe, showing different types of ecosystem-based assessments that can be carried out with the available knowledge. The report also identifies data and knowledge gaps, which can help improve assessments if filled.

The EEA's findings and other information sources will be presented throughout the conference. All the sessions can be followed online through the Green Week website.

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European Environment Agency (EEA)
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