Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 19, Issue 10, pp 2979–2994 | Cite as

Research needs for incorporating the ecosystem service approach into EU biodiversity conservation policy

  • Christian Anton
  • Juliette Young
  • Paula A. Harrison
  • Martin Musche
  • Györgyi Bela
  • Christian K. Feld
  • Richard Harrington
  • John R. Haslett
  • György Pataki
  • Mark D. A. Rounsevell
  • Michalis Skourtos
  • J. Paulo Sousa
  • Martin T. Sykes
  • Rob Tinch
  • Marie Vandewalle
  • Allan Watt
  • Josef Settele
Original Paper


Using a range of different methods including extensive reviews, workshops and an electronic conference, 70 key research recommendations and 12 priority research needs to integrate the ecosystem services approach into biodiversity conservation policy and funding were identified by a cross-disciplinary group of over 100 scientists and 50 stakeholders, including research funders and policy-makers. These recommendations focus on the ecological underpinning of ecosystem services, drivers that affect ecosystems and their services, biological traits and ecosystem services, the valuation of ecosystem services, spatial and temporal scales in ecosystem service assessment, indicators of ecosystem services, and habitat management, conservation policy and ecosystem services. The recommendations in this paper help steer the research agenda on ecosystem services into policy-relevant areas, agreed upon by funders, researchers and policy-makers. This research agenda will only succeed with increased collaboration between researchers across disciplines, thereby providing a challenge to the research community and research funders to work in new, interdisciplinary ways.


Biodiversity Conservation policy Ecosystem services Indicators Knowledge base Research priorities Valuation 



We thank all RUBICODE members for fruitful discussions and all stakeholders who participated in the RUBICODE workshops and kindly offered their valuable input. This work was funded by RUBICODE (Rationalising biodiversity in dynamic ecosystems) under the Sixth Framework Programme of the European Commission (Contract no. 036890). RUBICODE is an endorsed project of the Global Land Project of the IGBP. We thank two anonymous reviewers for their helpful input on an earlier draft of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Anton
    • 1
    • 13
  • Juliette Young
    • 2
  • Paula A. Harrison
    • 3
  • Martin Musche
    • 1
  • Györgyi Bela
    • 7
  • Christian K. Feld
    • 4
  • Richard Harrington
    • 5
  • John R. Haslett
    • 6
  • György Pataki
    • 7
  • Mark D. A. Rounsevell
    • 8
  • Michalis Skourtos
    • 9
  • J. Paulo Sousa
    • 10
  • Martin T. Sykes
    • 11
  • Rob Tinch
    • 12
  • Marie Vandewalle
    • 11
  • Allan Watt
    • 2
  • Josef Settele
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Community EcologyHelmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZHalle (Saale)Germany
  2. 2.Centre for Ecology and HydrologyEdinburgh, MidlothianUK
  3. 3.Environmental Change InstituteOxford University Centre for the EnvironmentOxfordUK
  4. 4.Department of Applied Zoology/HydrobiologyUniversity of Duisburg-EssenEssenGermany
  5. 5.Department of Plant and Invertebrate EcologyRothamsted ResearchHarpendenUK
  6. 6.Department of Organismal BiologyUniversity of SalzburgSalzburgAustria
  7. 7.Environmental Social Science Research GroupSzent István UniversityGödöllöHungary
  8. 8.Centre for the study of Environmental Change and Sustainability (CECS), School of GeosciencesUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK
  9. 9.Department of EnvironmentUniversity of AegeanMytiliniGreece
  10. 10.IMAR-CMA, Department of Life SciencesUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  11. 11.Department of Earth and Ecosystem SciencesLund UniversityLundSweden
  12. 12.Median SCPValldoreix (Barcelona)Spain
  13. 13.Nationale Akademie der Wissenschaften LeopoldinaHalleGermany

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