Ecosystem services mapping and assessment for policy-and decision-making: Lessons learned from a comparative analysis of european case studies

Davide Geneletti, Blal Adem Esmail*, Chiara Cortinovis, Ildikó Arany, Mario Balzan, Pieter van Beukering, Sabine Bicking, Paulo A.V. Borges, Bilyana Borisova, Steven Broekx, Benjamin Burkhard, Artur Gil, Ola Inghe, Leena Kopperoinen, Marion Kruse, Inge Liekens, Damian Lowicki, Andrzej Mizgajski, Sara Mulder, Stoyan NedkovHannah Ostergard, Ana Picanço, Anda Ruskule, Fernando Santos-Martín, Ina M. Sieber, Johan Svensson, Dava Vačkářů, Kristina Veidemane

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper analyses and compares a set of case studies on ecosystem services (ES) mapping and assessment with the purpose of formulating lessons learned and recommendations. Fourteen case studies were selected during the EU Horizon 2020 “Coordination and Support Action” ESMERALDA to represent different policy-and decision-making processes throughout the European Union, across a wide range of themes, biomes and scales. The analysis is based on a framework that addresses the key steps of an ES mapping and assessment process, namely policy questions, stakeholder identification and involvement, application of mapping and assessment methods, dissemination and communication and implementation. The analysis revealed that most case studies were policy-orientated or gave explicit suggestions for policy implementation in different contexts, including urban, rural and natural areas. Amongst the findings, the importance of starting stakeholder engagement early in the process was confirmed in order to generate interest and confidence in the project and to increase their willingness to cooperate. Concerning mapping and assessment methods, it was found that the integration of methods and results is essential for providing a comprehensive overview from different perspectives (e.g. social, economic). Finally, lessons learned for effective implementation of ES mapping and assessment results are presented and discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere53111
Pages (from-to)1-31
Number of pages31
JournalOne Ecosystem
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2020


The ESMERALDA project received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreement no. 642007. The authors are grateful to Joachim Maes and Uta Schirpke, the two reviewers, whose comments and reflections helped improve the manuscript.

FundersFunder number
Joachim Maes and Uta Schirpke
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme642007


    • Biodiversity
    • Case studies
    • Comparative analysis
    • Ecosystem services
    • EU Biodiversity Strategy
    • MAES


    Dive into the research topics of 'Ecosystem services mapping and assessment for policy-and decision-making: Lessons learned from a comparative analysis of european case studies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this