Indicators for mapping ecosystem services: a review

Benis N Egoh, Evangelia Drakou, Martha B. Dunbar, Joachim Maes, Louise Willemen

Research output: Book/ReportReportAcademic


Ecosystem services are the benefits that humans derive from ecosystems, such as food provisioning, water regulating and provisioning, soil productivity, and use of natural areas for recreation. The current challenge is to mainstream ecosystem services into policies and practices in order to ensure the continuous provision of these benefits to humans. The European Union has adopted an EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2020 in which the target of safeguarding ecosystem services is explicitly included. One crucial step to account for ecosystem services is the spatial quantification of the service supply. To this end, the development of robust indicators is needed. In this report we give an overview of spatial information used for mapping and modelling ecosystem services according to the scientific literature and evaluate the potential contribution of the JRC in supporting such initiatives at global, continental, and national level. We found a large diversity of indicators used for mapping different ecosystem services. The most common indicators are based on data related to land use/cover, soils, vegetation, and nutrients. Most of these data are available in and outside the JRC to a large extent and at low resolution. The JRC holds 82% of the data types used to map ecosystem services and could support the Member States and other initiatives involved by directly providing spatial information.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationIspra
PublisherJoint Research Centre
Number of pages113
ISBN (Print)9789279258213
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Publication series

NameJRC Scientific and Policy Reports
No.EUR 25456 EN

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