Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES)
Under the MAES initiative, the MAES Working Group was set up to support the implementation of target 2, action 5 of the EU Biodiversity Strategy. Since 2013 the MAES Working Group has contributed to the process with several workshops and technical reports. As one of the first outcomes a coherent analytical framework has been developed in 2013 to be applied by the EU and its Member States in order to ensure consistent approaches.

In recent years, little progress has been made, but now the MAES process seems to gain momentum and is increasingly becoming the focus of attention. In March 2016 the third technical report, taking stock on mapping and assessing the condition of Europe’s ecosystems, has been released and shortly afterwards the fourth technical report on mapping and assessment of urban ecosystems and their services has been published in May 2016.

In the last MAES Working Group meeting in September, DG Environment announced that ecosystem condition will be high on the agenda also in the context of the nature directives. A MAES ecosystem condition workshop is foreseen to be organised in March 2017 in Brussels.

In September the first meeting on MAES Cultural Services initiative took place in Brussels, organised by FACE, to consider a proposal for a Working Group on Cultural Ecosystem Services (CES) within MAES. CES are normally considered as non-material, consumptive outputs of ecosystems that affect physical and mental health and well-being.

CES-related policy contexts were discussed with regard to the Convention on Biological Diversity and the European Commission’s plan to organise the European year of Cultural Heritage in 2018. It was noted that cultural heritage is high on the policy agenda.

MAES is an initiative as part of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to map and assess ecosystems and their services launched in 2012. The Biodiversity Strategy outlines a number of targets and precise actions to stop biodiversity loss. Target 2 aims to maintain and restore ecosystems and their services and, within that, Action 5 calls for all Member States to map and assess the state of ecosystems and their services in their national territory with the assistance of the European Commission. The results of this mapping and assessment should support the maintenance and restoration of ecosystems and their services.

For further information, please refer to the following website. On this website you can find recent information on MAES and all published technical reports.