The European Union’s Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 aims under its Target 2 to maintain and enhance ecosystem services in Europe. To this end, the European Commission is developing a knowledge base on ecosystems including aspects of ecosystem condition, the capacity of ecosystems to provide services and the pressures they are exposed to.
Action 5 of target 2 requires that EU Member States, together with the European Commission, will map and assess the state of ecosystems and their services in their national territory. The Working Group on Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES) is mandated to coordinate and oversee Action 5.
Published in March 2018, the fifth MAES report presents a series of indicators for the mapping and assessment of ecosystem condition at European level. Specific indicators are developed for evaluating the pressures and ecosystem condition of every MAES ecosystem type (urban ecosystems, forests and woodland, wetlands, and rivers and lakes, cropland and grassland, and marine ecosystems). The report contains indicator tables per main ecosystem type. These indicators describe how to map and assess the main pressures on ecosystems and how to map and assess ecosystem condition. The examples illustrate how the indicator set can be used to address various policy questions.