Public Release: 

Mapping and assessment of ecosystems and their services across Europe and beyond

EU Horizon 2020 project ESMERALDA presents key outcomes at its final meeting in Brussels

Pensoft Publishers

The EU Horizon 2020 Coordination and Support Action ESMERALDA has gathered scientists, practitioners and policy-makers for its final Conference, to demonstrate key scientific results and practical resources designed to assist and guide EU Member States in Mapping and Assessing Ecosystems and their Services (MAES) in their respective local, national and pan-national contexts.

The event will take place from 11 to 13 June 2018, in Brussels, Belgium. Each of the three days of the Conference is dedicated to the specific needs of respectively scientists, politicians and decision makers, as well as practitioners, to ensure smooth intake of ESMERALDA's methodology at all stakeholder levels. About 100 delegates from 27 EU Member states, 6 other European countries, EU outermost regions, from various European Commission's bodies and institutions have registered for the event.

ESMERALDA (Enhancing ecosystem services mapping for policy and decision making) is a EU-project designed to deliver a flexible methodology and provide the building blocks for pan-European and regional assessments of ecosystem services in Europe. Ultimately, the work within the project aims to ensure the timely delivery to EU Member States in relation to Action 5 Target 2 of the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2020, supporting the needs of assessments in relation to the requirements for planning, agriculture, climate, water and nature policy.

While the first day of the Conference is dedicated to meeting members of the EU MAES working group and discussing various tools, their interoperability and integration of results within similar platforms, the next two days will focus on presentations of results to external stakeholders.

Day two of the project meeting will be dedicated to policy, where ESMERALDA will have the chance to demonstrate the MAES Explorer, an online resource dedicated to assisting non-scientific users of ESMERALDA's methodology in choosing the right approach and execution in their specific context. ESMERALDA will, together with representatives from the European Commission, highlight how its outcomes are supporting the implementation of various EU policies.

On day three, ESMERALDA will have the chance to showcase its flexible methodology and highlight results and conclusions across the project's case studies. The project will also present its open access book "Mapping Ecosystem Services" and it's Special Issue, publicly accessible in the open access journal One Ecosystem, where interested parties can acquaint themselves with a variety of results and methods among which:

    Methods and workflows for assessing ecosystem services
    Application of methods in various settings: urban, rural, etc.
    Importance and insights of stakeholder networks.

"ESMERALDA was a great opportunity for us to create a pan-European network of ecosystem services specialists and stakeholders and to further develop methodologies for mapping and assessment of ecosystem services that work not only on the theoretical level, but will be hopefully of use at the local and national levels to stakeholders across Europe," comments project coordinator Prof. Benjamin Burkhard, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany.

"Ultimately, our goal is to support EU Member States and local practitioners in achieving and delivering their part towards Action 5 Target 2 of the EU Biodiversity Strategy"

###

ESMERALDA receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 programme under grant agreement No 642007.

Follow live tweets and discussions from the event at: #ESMERALDAfinal

Follow ESMERALDA on Twitter @ESMERALDA_H2020.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.