Published Saturday, 31 May 2008

Ecosystem services - the Pan European perspective, presentation in Eurosite conference (Turku, Finland) June 2008 

The diverse European ecosystems provide a vast number of services that are crucial for human well-being and socio-economic welfare. For example, wetlands play an important role in purifying and retaining water for the use of villages and cities all over Europe. Similarly, forests and peat bogs function as carbon storages helping to mitigate climate change at both European and global level. Finally, all European citizens enjoy the recreational possibilities provided by nature. In this context, nature conservation areas, e.g. Natura 2000 sites, also play a key role in maintaining and providing a number of ecosystem services.

The loss of biodiversity in Europe is continuing at an alarming rate and as a consequence ecosystem services are being degraded and lost throughout Europe, often with significant negative social and economic consequences. Meanwhile, protection of biodiversity is still often perceived as mainly imposing costs or restrictions on communities and economies. Similarly, the range of socio-economic benefits supported and provided by well-managed networks of protected areas is not widely understood and appreciated.

Marianne Kettunen of IEEP presented insights on ecosystem services in the Pan European context in Eurosite annual conference in Turku, Finland June 2008.