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Maes, J., Jennifer Hauck, Maria Luisa Paracchini, Outi Ratamäki, Michael Hutchins, Mette Termansen, Eeva Furman, Marta Perez-Soba, Leon Braat, Giovanni Bidoglio (2013). Mainstreaming ecosystem services into EU policy. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability. 5(1): 128–134.
This paper presents a synthesis of the PRESS initiative (PEER7 Research on Ecosystem Services). In support of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, this initiative demonstrated a multi-scale mapping and assessment approach of ecosystem services using three case studies. The water purification case studied the impacts of agricultural and water policy scenarios on the capacity of ecosystems to purify water. The conclusion was that greening the subsidies to farmers in Europe would improve water quality and increase the benefits to society as measured via monetary valuation. Yet, scenario based nitrogen reduction levels differed among the different scales (EU and basin scale) suggesting that the assessment of policy measures is scale-dependent, which, in turn, justifies a multiscale mapping and assessment approach. The recreation case presented evidence that millions of people visited forests several times per year and they expressed their willingness to pay to continue doing so. The visitor statistics that were used in this study suggested that the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum approach is a useful method to identify areas in terms of their accessibility and potential to provide recreation services. Finally, we demonstrated that the coverage and resolution of current datasets are already sufficient to map the potential of ecosystems to provide pollination services. Further research should contribute to better ecological observations of key pollinator species to include important drivers of pollinator abundance in modelling and mapping approaches.