Mapping and Assessing the state of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES-LUX)

MAES Luxembourg - Habitat map

MDDI – Mapping and Assessing the state of Ecosystems and their Services

The Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES) initiative is understood as a crucial milestone towards improving the knowledge and evidence of Europe’s natural assets and a foundation for national governments and the European Union to prioritise political actions to safeguard Europe’s natural capital. 

To properly manage our natural assets, we require an initial inventory as a yardstick for subsequent assessments. This is where mapping provides comprehensive and reliable information about the status of biodiversity, ecosystems, their services and the capacity to monitor changes in order to develop future scenarios about the situation in 2020. 

In support to the Member States the European Commission set up the MAES Working Group which developed a common assessment framework to ensure consistent approaches across Europe, linking biodiversity, ecosystem condition and ecosystem services to human well-being. Furthermore, it developed a typology of ecosystems in Europe and promotes the CICES (Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services) classification for ecosystem services. 

The MAES conceptual framework builds on the premise that the delivery of certain ecosystem services is strongly dependent on both the spatial accessibility of ecosystems as well as on ecosystem condition. The framework is structured in a 4 step approach: 

  1. Mapping of the concerned ecosystem; 
  2. Assessment of the condition of the ecosystem; 
  3. Quantification of the services provided by the ecosystem; and 
  4. Compilation of these into an integrated ecosystem assessment. 

space4environment has implemented the first three steps of the 4-step approach for the Luxembourg Ministry for Sustainable Development and Infrastructures. A map of ecosystem services and 13 priority ecosystem services have been provided.