Mapping and assessing ecosystem services in the EU - Lessons learned from the ESMERALDA approach of integration

Benjamin Burkhard*, Joachim Maes, Marion B. Potschin-Young, Fernando Santos-Martín, Davide Geneletti, Pavel Stoev, Leena Kopperoinen, Cristian Mihai Adamescu, Blal Adem Esmail, Ildikó Arany, Andy Arnell, Mario Balzan, David N. Barton, Pieter van Beukering, Sabine Bicking, Paulo Alexandre Vieira Borges, Bilyana Borisova, Leon Braat, Luke M. Brander, Svetla Bratanova-DonchevaSteven Broekx, Claire Brown, Constantin Cazacu, Neville Crossman, Bálint Czúcz, Jan Danĕk, Rudolf de Groot, Daniel Depellegrin, Panayotis Dimopoulos, Nora Elvinger, Markus Erhard, Nora Fagerholm, Jana Frélichová, Adrienne Grêt-Regamey, Margarita Grudova, Roy Haines-Young, Ola Inghe, Tamas Kristof Kallay, Tamara Kirin, Hermann Klug, Ioannis P. Kokkoris, Iskra Konovska, Marion Kruse, Iliyana Kuzmova, Manfred Lange, Inge Liekens, Alon Lotan, Damian Lowicki, Sandra Luque, Cristina Marta-Pedroso, Andrzej Mizgajski, Laura Mononen, Sara Mulder, Felix Müller, Stoyan Nedkov, Mariana Nikolova, Hannah Östergård, Lyubomir Penev, Paulo Pereira, Kati Pitkänen, Tobias Plieninger, Sven Erik Rabe, Steffen Reichel, Philip K. Roche, Graciela Rusch, Anda Ruskule, Anna Sapundzhieva, Kalev Sepp, Ina Maren Sieber, Mateja Šmid Hribar, Simona Stašová, Bastian Steinhoff-Knopp, Małgorzata Stępniewska, Anne Teller, David Vackar, Martine van Weelden, Kristina Veidemane, Henrik Vejre, Petteri Vihervaara, Arto Viinikka, Miguel Villoslada, Bettina Weibel, Grazia Zulian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


The European Union (EU) Horizon 2020 Coordination and Support Action ESMERALDA aimed at developing guidance and a flexible methodology for Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES) to support the EU member states in the implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy’s Target 2 Action 5. ESMERALDA’s key tasks included network creation, stakeholder engagement, enhancing ecosystem services mapping and assessment methods across various spatial scales and value domains, work in case studies and support of EU member states in MAES implementation. Thus ESMERALDA aimed at integrating various project outcomes around four major strands: i) Networking, ii) Policy, iii) Research and iv) Application. The objective was to provide guidance for integrated ecosystem service mapping and assessment that can be used for sustainable decision-making in policy, business, society, practice and science at EU, national and regional levels. This article presents the overall ESMERALDA approach of integrating the above-mentioned project components and outcomes and provides an overview of how the enhanced methods were applied and how they can be used to support MAES implementation in the EU member states. Experiences with implementing such a large pan-European Coordination and Support Action in the context of EU policy are discussed and recommendations for future actions are given.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere29153
JournalOne Ecosystem
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2018


  • Assessment
  • Ecosystem services
  • EU biodiversity strategy to 2020
  • Mapping
  • Project


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