Adoption of the ecosystem services concept in EU policies

Irene Bouwma*, Christian Schleyer, Eeva Primmer, Klara Johanna Winkler, Pam Berry, Juliette Young, Esther Carmen, Jana Špulerová, Peter Bezák, Elena Preda, Angheluta Vadineanu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

185 Citations (Scopus)


The concept of ecosystem services has gained a strong political profile during the last 15 years. However, there is no specific EU policy devoted to governing ecosystem services. This article shows that the ecosystem services concept is already embedded in recent EU (environmentally-related) policies, such as the Biodiversity Strategy 2020 and the Invasive Alien Species Regulation. Our review of 12 policies shows that, overall, the coherence between existing policies and the ecosystem services concept is moderate. Policies showing very high coherence are confined to the policy arenas that address natural ecosystems, forestry, or agriculture. Given the sectoral nature of most EU policies and the limited options for revision in the near future, opportunities for improving coherence are most apparent in furthering the integration of the ecosystem services concept in the implementation of existing EU policies at national and regional levels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-222
JournalEcosystem Services
Issue numberpt. B
Early online date2017
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


  • Directives
  • Ecosystem services
  • European Union
  • Policies


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