Ecosystem Services

...Der umständlich klingende Begriff „Ökosystemdienstleistungen“ (aus dem Englischen „Ecosystem Services“) beschreibt nichts anderes als den vielfältigen Nutzen, den der Mensch tagtäglich aus den Ökosystemen seiner Umgebung zieht. Die Natur liefert den Menschen eine Vielzahl an Gütern und Leistungen, die die Grundlage für das menschliche Wohlbefinden darstellen: Nahrungsmittel, Trinkwasser, Brennstoffe und Arzneimittel, Schutz vor Überschwemmungen und Bodenerosion sowie Klimaregulation oder Kohlenstoffspeicherung werden als Ökosystemdienstleistungen verstanden, die uns von der Natur bereitgestellt werden. Unsere Lebensqualität – gute Ernährung, Gesundheit, Erholung etc. – steht in direktem Zusammenhang mit der Erhaltung von Ökosystemdienstleistungen.
Werden Ökosysteme in ihrer Funktion beeinträchtigt oder komplett zerstört, können wir auch von den entsprechenden Ökosystemdienstleistungen nicht mehr profitieren. Ökosysteme sind äußerst komplex und ihr Funktionieren hängt von zahlreichen Faktoren ab. Wichtige Grundlage für die Widerstandsund Anpassungsfähigkeit von Ökosystemen ist dabei die biologische Vielfalt. Sie umfasst die genetische Vielfalt sowie die Populationen- und Artenvielfalt".

(Quelle: NABU-Bundesverband, 2010)

Integrating ecosystem services in spatial planning and strategic environmental assessment: The role of the cascade model 

Over the last decade, the ecosystem service (ES) approach has gained increasing attention because it offers important advantages for enhancing decision-making.
However, a key and remaining challenge is how to implement this approach in real-world decision problems. This challenge is particularly relevant for governance and policy instruments, such as spatial planning and strategic environmental assessment (SEA), where including the ES approach is recognized as a great opportunity for achieving sustainable development goals.

Environmental Impact Assessment Review 78 (2019) 106291, 1-5

Performance of water utilities beyond compliance

Sharing knowledge bases to support environmental and resource-efficiency policies and technical improvements 

European policies are increasingly focused on preserving the Earth's limited resources in a sustainable manner, while minimising impacts on the environment. This is included in the resource efficiency and green economy agendas. In order to obtain knowledge on the actual pressure on the aquatic environment from water abstractions and emission of pollutants, and for assessing urban water management, we need to extend the knowledge base beyond compliance with current legislation. 

EEA Technical report No 5/2014 
European Environment Agency 

Land-use elements and attributed ecosystem services: an archetype approach to land-use evaluation at the German North Sea coast 

The ecosystem services concept has been introduced as a decisive approach to include ecosystem functioning in land-use planning and stakeholder-driven sustainable development. Early integration of stakeholders in participatory processes in the nexus of ecosystem services, climate adaption, and land-use management is still a demanding challenge. This investigation followed a cognitive approach to archetype analysis. 

Ecology and Society 24(2): 13 

Towards an integrative assessment of land-use type values from the
perspective of ecosystem services 

Policy-makers and practitioners are increasingly interested in information about ecosystem services (ES), but the

creation of indicators that are comprehensive and yet interpretable for stakeholders remains a challenge.

In this study, we make use of the extensive body of research on ES and available data to quantify the value of land-use
types from an ES perspective. Specifically, we estimate the supply of 19 important ES for the main land-use types
on the basis of 58 ecosystem and landscape measures (capturing either state, quantity or process) derived from
the literature. In addition, we used survey-based evidence of socio-cultural values of ES to integrate society’s
demand for ES. Our approach allows for an integrative assessment and comparison of land-use types, considering
both the supply and demand of multiple ES, and the production of outputs at three levels of aggregation, relating
to (1) individual ES, (2) ES categories, and (3) land-use types. This makes it possible to flexibly adapt outputs
according to the needs of stakeholders, while balancing concerns of comprehensiveness and ease of use. We
conclude with a discussion of further avenues for future research, calling for a stronger coordination of ES
research and the establishment of shared databases on ES.

Improving network approaches to the study of complex social-ecological


Achieving effective, sustainable environmental governance requires a better understanding of the causes and consequences of the complex patterns of interdependencies connecting people and ecosystems within and across scales. Network approaches for conceptualizing and analyzing these interdependencies offer one promising solution.

Here, we present two advances we argue are needed to further this area of research: (i) a typology of causal assumptions explicating the causal aims of any given network-centric study of social-ecological interdependencies; (ii) unifying research design considerations that facilitate conceptualizing exactly what is interdependent, through what types of relationships, and in relation to what kinds of environmental problems.
The latter builds on the appreciation that many environmental problems draw from a set of core challenges that re-occur across contexts. We demonstrate how these advances combine into a comparative heuristic that facilitates leveraging case-specific findings of social-ecological interdependencies to generalizable, yet context-sensitive, theories based on explicit assumptions of causal relationships.  

Nature Sustainability, 2(7), 551-559. 


European aquatic ecological assessment methods:

A critical review of their sensitivity to key pressures 

The European Union has embarked on a policy which aims to achieve good ecological status in all surface waters (i.e. rivers, lakes, transitional and coastal waters). In theory, ecological status assessment methods should address the effects of all relevant human pressures.

In this study, we analyze the degree to which methods European countries use to assess ecological status tackle various pressures affecting European waters. Nutrient pollution is by far the best-covered pressure for all four water categories. Out of total of 423 assessment methods, 370 assess eutrophication and pressure-specific relationships have been demonstrated for 212 of these. “General degradation” is addressed by 238 methods, mostly validated by relationships to combined pressure indices. 
Other major pressures have received significantly less effort: hydromorphological degradation is assessed by 160 methods and pressure-specific relationships have been demonstrated for just 40 of these. Hydromorphological pressures are addressed (at least by one BQE) only by 25% countries for coastal waters and 70–80% for lakes and transitional waters. 
Specific diagnostic tools (i.e. single-pressure relationships) for hydromorphology have only been developed by a few countries: only 20% countries have such methods for lakes, coastal and transitional waters and less than half for rivers. Toxic contamination is addressed by 90 methods; however, pressure-specific relationships have been demonstrated for just eight of these. Only two countries have demonstrated pressurespecific acidification methods for rivers, and three for lakes. 
S. Poikane et al. / Science of the Total Environment 740 (2020) 140075