Ecosystem Services

Ongoing projects

SMILES: Enhancing Small-Medium IsLands resilience by securing the sustainability of Ecosystem Services (funded by COST: CA21158) 

Project Summary

European islands are hotspots of biological and cultural diversity, which, compared to mainland, are more vulnerable to climate change, tourism development, uncontrolled land use changes and financial crisis. These factors have increasingly resulted in severe impacts on socio-economic and environmental services. Projected climate and land use change will impact on islands’ biodiversity but also on ecosystem services and in turn on the quality of life of island inhabitants. Even if the existing techniques can adequately predict climate-induced ecological changes of the larger islands, this is not the case for small and medium size islands where there is a need for refinement.

Although ecosystem services (ES) assessments have been carried out worldwide in different geographical areas, islands are still underrepresented. Despite the islands’s importance and vulnerability, efforts to date have focused solely on the pressures they face. Still we know little about ES supplies, flows and demands and their spatio-temporal variability, whilst integrated approaches that consider ES cross island realms (terrestrial, marine and their interface) remain scarce. Moreover, the current conceptual approaches guiding ES mapping and assessment need further refinement to account for the complex manifestations of nature and culture arising from peoples’ interaction with island spaces.

The aim of this action is to provide a platform for coordinated interdisciplinary research on several aspects of mapping and assessment of ES in small and medium European Islands in order to synthesize and strengthen the knowledge base for conservation of island realms and contribute to their sustainable development.

PHYSIS: A6: Developing a methodological framework for the National Ecosystem Assessment (funded by LIFE+

Project Summary

The aim of this subproject with the lager IP PHYSIS project is to carry out the first National Ecosystem Assessment  in Cyprus (CY NEA). It intends to build on the concept of ecosystem which provides a valuable framework for analysing and acting on the linkage between people and their environments. This framework is expected to serve in the development of a common understanding in ecosystem assessment. It would provide the basis for different groups (ecosystem types/ ecosystem services) to contribute to the analysis and linkages, and for these analyses to combine in a logical manner in an overall assessment of the total ecosystem service estimation. Although the exact working

framework will be set up by a National Scientific Advisory Board once in place, some general steps envisaged are described below:

1. Build knowledge and awareness: this will consolidate the preliminary work which

has already been done on the island on ecosystems, their services, state and

pressures; datasets and tools available (Vogiatzakis 2015; Vogiatzakis et al. 2017;

2018), but also on the implementation action C5 which will feed back to the

methodological framework at the end of the project.

2. Identify and cooperate with relevant stakeholders: an ecosystem assessment

requires cross-sector coordination and cooperation between different levels of

governance, NGOs and society to ensure a broad support and success of this

endeavor. Therefore, this step should identify and involve all relevant stakeholders at

the early stage when designing the NEA.

3. Integrating quantification mapping and assessment and identifying priority concerns

by analyzing potential impacts on service provision in the short and long term for all

ecosystems and services provided (risk assessment framework).

4. Address monitoring and management activities for ecosystem service provision as

well as identifying gaps in existing policies, institutional structures and processes

such as legislation, management structures, and staff training needs.

5. Develop a National Ecosystem Assessment Strategy which will pave the way for

Natural Capital Accounting (NCA) for Cyprus.l changes of the larger islands, this is not the case for small and medium size islands where there is a need for refinement

Complete projects

Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystem Services in Cyprus (Funded by MANRE) 

Project Summary

Based on the second Target of the Biodiversity Strategy (Maintaining and restoring ecosystems and their services), Action 5 aims to improve knowledge of their ecosystems and services in the EU territory. Within this Action Member States with the help of the European Commission, should map and evaluate the state of their ecosystems and services on their national territory by 2014, assess their economic value and promote the integration of these values ​​into accounting and reporting at European and national levels by 2020. Cyprus is lagging behind on the implementation of a National Ecosystem Assessment. Currently a first attempt to map and evaluate the services of terrestrial ecosystems in Cyprus as well as the planning and the next steps and gaps for the implementation / completion of the country's obligations to the EU. Based on the above, a number of pilot studies are underway to demonstrate the benefits of the most important terrestrial (and marine) ecosystems in Cyprus and to assist in developing a national policy for better management of these. The specific objectives can be summarized as follows:

1. Evaluation and collation of existing data for mapping and evaluation of terrestrial ecosystem services in Cyprus.
2. Report on the design and definition of a methodology for the mapping and assessment of services of terrestrial ecosystems in Cyprus.
3. Identification of indicators for the monitoring and assessment of ecosystem services as well as status indicators and ecosystems assessment.
4. Propose the next steps and identify gaps in the harmonization of national environmental policy with the other EU Member States (design, implementation, integration)