ESMERALDA Project: Guidelines and recommendations to support the application of the final methods

Adem Esmail, B., Geneletti, D., Nedkov, S., Mulder, S., Arany, I., Cortinovis, C., Bicking, S., Steinhoff-Knopp, B., Sieber, I, Burkhard, B., Kopperoinen, L., Maes, J., Potschin-Young, M., Santos Martin, F., Stoev, P., Balzan, M., Borges, P.A.V., Borisova, B., Brander, L., Broekx, S., Gil, A., Inghe, O., Kállay, T., Kruse, N., Kuslits, B., Liekens, I., Łowicki, D., Mizgajski, A., Müller, F., Östergård, H., Picanço, A., Ruskule, A., Svensson, J., Vačkář, D., van Beukering, P., Veidemane, K., Viinikka, A., & Zard, L. (2018) ESMERALDA Project: Guidelines and recommendations to support the application of the final methods. Deliverable D5.4, EU Horizon 2020 ESMERALDA Project, Grant agreement No. 642007. 115 pp.

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  • Jul, 2018


Mapping and assessment of ecosystems and their services (ES) are the core component to the EU Biodiversity (BD) Strategy. They are essential if we are to make informed decisions. Action 5 sets the requirement for an EU-wide knowledge base designed to be: a primary data source for developing Europe’s green infrastructure; resource to identify areas for ecosystem restoration; and, a baseline against which the goal of ‘no net loss of BD and ES’ can be evaluated.

In response to these requirements, the ESMERALDA (Enhancing ecoSysteM sERvices mApping for poLicy and Decision mAking) project aims to deliver a flexible methodology to provide the building blocks for pan-European and regional assessments. This will ensure the timely delivery by EU member states in relation to Action 5 of the BD Strategy, supporting the needs of assessments in relation to the requirements for planning, agriculture, climate, water, and nature policy. The flexible methodology builds on existing ES projects and databases (i.e. MAES, OpenNESS, OPERAs, national studies), the Millennium Assessment (MA) and TEEB. In addition, a key role of the ESMERALDA project is in identifying relevant stakeholders and taking stock of their requirements at EU, national and regional levels.

The objective of ESMERALDA is therefore to share experience through an active process of dialogue and knowledge co-creation that will enable participants to achieve the aims of Action 5. The flexible methodology integrates biophysical, social and economic mapping and assessment methods. As shown in Figure ‎1.1, ESMERALDA is organized based on six work packages, which are organised through four strands, namely policy, research, application and networking, reflecting the main objectives of the project.

 Figure ‎1.1: ESMERALDA components and their interrelations and integration within the four project strands.


Deliverable 5.4 sits within work package WP 5 “Methods testing”, which has the overall goal of “testing the proposed methods to map and assess ES to ensure that they meet users’ requirements for all relevant themes, spatial scales and geographical contexts” (see DoA). Testing is here to be intended as a process of refinement of the ESMERALDA flexible methodology, which was being simultaneously developed in WP 3 and WP 4, with input from WP 2 and other work packages as well as different stakeholders (Figure ‎1.1). In particular, Deliverable 5.4 is based on a critical analysis of the proposed ESMERALDA flexible methodology for ES mapping and assessment based on the results from the case study applications.