EASAC Launch Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

The European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) yesterday launched a report on ‘Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity in Europe’. The EASAC working group behind the report was led by Professor Alastair Fitter, University of York, a past-President of the BES.

The report provides a review of the state of ecosystem services in Europe, and examines what is known regarding the contribution which biodiversity makes to maintaining ecosystem services.

As urbanisation and intensification of agriculture compromise the environment and lead to declines in biodiversity, so too will the ability of ecosystems to provide the essential services on which we depend be threatened. As an example, soil biodiversity provides a key role in nutrient cycling, essential to maintain high-levels of productivity in agriculture. As fertilisers are likely to become more costly in future, whilst food prices are set to increase, maintaining the integrity of soil ecosystems in Europe will be vital to deliver the produce needed by a growing population, increasingly unable to afford the high cost of imported food.

One of the key messages of the report is that although European ecosystems can deliver a range of services, managing land to primarily deliver one service will reduce its capacity to deliver others. EASAC recommends that European governments introduce a new Directive, encouraging the active management of land for a range of ecosystem services; putting in place legislation to ensure that management is systematic and to standards uniform across Europe.

A copy of the report can be accessed here: http://www.easac.org/document.asp?id=90&pageno=1&detail=1&parent=31.