Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Specific Challenge: Biodiversity provides ecosystem services (provisioning, regulating, maintaining and cultural) crucial for human well-being. However, knowledge gaps remain in understanding the causality relationships between drivers/pressures (individually and collectively) and changes in biodiversity, ecosystem functions and ecosystem services and their societal impacts.

Since biodiversity is declining rapidly, leading to declines in ecosystem service provision, there is an urgent need to both document and evaluate the effects of drivers of change on all relevant levels of biological organisation, to better understand the links between biological diversity, ecosystem functions and resilience, and in turn to ecosystem service provision, so as to ensure effective policy and sustainable development.

Scope: Through a systematic approach and within an integrated socio-economic-ecological framework, while building as far as possible on existing knowledge, proposals should cover all of the following aspects:

·         assess the causalities between biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services;

·         assess the impacts of direct, indirect and emerging drivers of change, separately and in combination and interaction, on status and trends of biodiversity and ecosystem function (at all relevant scales), resilience and service provision;

·         provide forecasting methodologies to predict future variation in drivers of change, their expected impact on biodiversity and the ensuing consequences of ecosystem service delivery;

·         develop and refine sound and cost-effective indicators on biodiversity, ecosystem function/resilience and ecosystem service which capture all the relevant ecological and socio-economic dimensions and are widely applicable;

·         develop innovative ecosystem service oriented management concepts (including participatory initiatives), common frameworks and tools for the conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 5 and 10 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact: In the mid-term, enhanced predictive capacity concerning causalities between biodiversity and ecosystem function/service provision on the one hand and the drivers of change and biodiversity/ecosystem services on the other is expected. In the short to long term, this action should lead to more cost-effective environmental monitoring and enhanced evidence- and science-based policy, management and business models within a sustainable environmental and socio- economic context, enhanced citizen awareness and participation; as well as contribute to the achievement of EU and international biodiversity targets (EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy[1], Convention on Biological Diversity, Rio+20) and link in with international efforts and fora on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Type of action: Research and innovation actions

[1]     COM(2011) 244 final

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