Science for Evidence-based and sustainabLe decIsions about NAtural capital
The importance of biodiversity (BD) and healthy ecosystems and the services they deliver has increasingly been acknowledged. Policy initiatives, such as the EU BD Strategies 2020 and 2030, IPBES, IPCC and CBD were launched to address BD, natural capital and related values. Research has created a knowledge base to better understand nature-human interactions that are at the base of ecosystem services (ES) delivery. The key aim of related actions is to provide robust information that can be harnessed to support protection, restoration and sustainable as well as climate-neutral use of ecosystems in the EU by 2030. MAES has provided the conceptual, methodological and data base for comprehensive assessments on different spatial scales, including the EU-wide assessment (2020) and assessments in EU member states. Knowledge and data for different ecosystem types (including protected and marine areas) are increasingly available. The next step is to integrate the different MAES components (ecosystem mapping, condition, ES, accounting) and to enable the uptake of ES in decision making. Key challenges include the proof of BD-ecosystem condition-ES relationships and to link them to EU policies. The consortium brings together experts from all EU member states, associated countries and EU overseas regions with stakeholders from various public and private sectors. The expertise in the consortium includes leading experts (ecologists, economists, social scientists) on ES science, ecosystem accounting and on science-policy-business interfaces from related actions (OpenNESS, ESMERALDA, MAIA, MAES, ESP, IPBES, BD Partnership). Therefore, the project will successfully address the call’s challenges and provide applicable tools and models together with guidance how to use them. The project will deliver real cases for an evidence-, ES-based and harmonised decision making across Europe, enabling transformative change to halt BD decline and to secure essential ES-sustainable supply and use.