Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 91–107 | Cite as

A spatially explicit and quantitative vulnerability assessment of ecosystem service change in Europe

  • Marc J. Metzger
  • Dagmar Schröter
  • Rik Leemans
  • Wolfgang Cramer
Original Article


Environmental change alters ecosystem functioning and may put the provision of services to human at risk. This paper presents a spatially explicit and quantitative assessment of the corresponding vulnerability for Europe, using a new framework designed to answer multidisciplinary policy relevant questions about the vulnerability of the human-environment system to global change. Scenarios were constructed for a range of possible changes in socio-economic trends, land uses and climate. These scenarios were used as inputs in a range of ecosystem models in order to assess the response of ecosystem function as well as the changes in the services they provide. The framework was used to relate the impacts of changing ecosystem service provision for four sectors in relation to each other, and to combine them with a simple, but generic index for societal adaptive capacity. By allowing analysis of different sectors, regions and development pathways, the vulnerability assessment provides a basis for discussion between stakeholders and policymakers about sustainable management of Europe’s natural resources.


Vulnerability assessment Global change Ecosystem services Adaptive capacity Europe 



The work was carried out as part of the EU funded Fifth Framework project ATEAM (Advanced Terrestrial Ecosystem Assessment and Modelling, Project No. EVK2-2000-00075). Many members in the consortium contributed to the discussions that helped shape the work in this paper.

Supplementary material

10113_2008_44_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (3.2 mb)
Supplementary material (PDF 3.21 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marc J. Metzger
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Dagmar Schröter
    • 3
  • Rik Leemans
    • 1
  • Wolfgang Cramer
    • 3
  1. 1.Environmental Systems Analysis groupWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Plant Production Systems groupWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of Global Change and Natural SystemsPotsdam Institute for Climate Impact ResearchPotsdamGermany
  4. 4.School of GeoSciences, University of EdinburghEdinburghUnited Kingdom

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