In the past 20 years, work on ecosystem services has focused primarily on recognizing the multiple types of services that exist, in trying to quantify their temporal and spatial variations, and recognizing the numerous trade-offs that emerge when considering more than one service. More recently, however, in addition to these perspectives we are acknowledging that ecosystem services are often the result of complex and intertwined co-production between natural and human systems which shift – not only across space and time – but also across social dimensions such as demography, culture, and institutions. Understanding these additional components of socio-ecological systems as they relate to ecosystems services will be fundamental for developing appropriate policy and practices that can ensure their sustainable use and long-term supply.

About Ecosystem Services WG
Co-Leads

Ilse Geijzendorffer
Tour du Valat

María Vallejos
University of Buenos Aires

Odirilwe Selomane
Stockholm University
Key objectives
  1. To foster the development of a scalable observation system of ecosystem services that can operate from sub-national to global levels, that takes into account the socio-ecological systems in which ecosystem services are generated and appropriated
  2. To identify the essential ecosystem service variables for effective observation of ecosystem services status and trends, including their supply, use, value and contributions to well-being
  3. To conduct and facilitate trend assessments and monitoring of ecosystem services at different spatial scales, including the exploration trade-offs between ecosystem services and across temporal and spatial scales
  4. To work closely with national, regional and global decision makers to identify priority exploration, synthesis, and outputs that the WG can deliver
  5. To inform on progress towards Sustainable Development Targets, and other global and regional environmental policy targets taking into account essential ecosystem service variables
  6. To contribute to important policy-science processes such as IPBES and to the appropriate conventions
Activities
1. Essential Ecosystem Services Variables
Leads Patty Balvanera and Ilse Geijzendorffer
Team Tuyeni Mwampamba, Berta Martin-Lopez, Mike Gill , Anna Cord, Matthias Schröter, HyeJin Kim, Carlos Zambrana-Torrelio, Danny Karp, Domingo Alcaraz-Segura, Carlos Guerra, Vânia Proença, Guy Ziv, Alessandro Gimona Nicolas, Artur Gil, Bruno Locatelli, María Vallejos, Antonio J. Castro, Valia Drakou, Kate Brauman, Elena Bennett, Cornelia Krug, Cristina Domingo.
Development approach Concepts, Monitoring
Description This activity aims at developing a conceptual paper of a first draft of Essential Ecosystem Services Variables similar to the initial proposition of the EBVs as a starting point for improvements and harmonization efforts across national and international assessments.
Timeline 2017 2018 2019 2020
Milestones and/or Deliverables Discuss and finalise framework; Submission of the manuscript Publication of a scientific article
Resources
Link with other WG, BONs, TF ES2.7. Trade-offs among ecosystem services; ES3.2. Test EESV at national & sub-national level EBV Framework Task Force
2. Dialogue with policy bodies
Lead Tuyeni Mwampamba
Team Patty Balvanera, Haejin Bae, Benoit, HyeJin Kim, Artur Gil (for the case of Small Islands Developing States), Claire Brown, Cornelia Krug
Development approach Application and tools
Description The purpose of this activity is to ensure that the WG is responding to real needs and pertinent issues relevant for policy and decision-making related to ecosystem services. Specifically, the WG will reach out to the CBD, IPBES and other global and national bodies to solicit their needs. The activity will include identifying needs that the WG can respond to in the short, medium and long-term, and working with policy bodies to outline work plans, and where necessary, finance mechanisms to be able to deliver on those. This activity is organised in four phases:

  1. Identification of all relevant policy processes related to ES that WG members are involved in
  2. Assessment of needs to determine extent to which WG can deliver
  3. Contact key policy actors to propose partnership and collaboration
  4. Execute strategy for delivery (multiple processes may be occurring at the same time)
Timeline 2017 2018 2019 2020
Milestones and/or Deliverables Phase I: Survey of WG 6 and other GEOBON members to obtain list of policy processes & their specific needs (Nov 2017) Phase II: List of needs that WG members are sure they can deliver and outline of strategy on how to deliver on them (April 2018); Phase III: Discuss and refine strategy with policy actors; outline approach and venues for delivery (Nov 2017) Phase IV: Execute strategy for delivery (multiple processes may be occurring at the same time); Develop a manuscript of key outcomes of the experience
Resources
Link with other activities ES1.1. Essential Ecosystem Services Variables; ES1.4. Ecosystem services in Global Sustainability Policies. This activity will also be supported by the BON Development WG (BD1) and Policy TF
3. Global Framework of Ecosystem Services
Leads Patty Balvanera and Gary Geller
Team HyeJin Kim, Carlos Zambrana, Carlos Guerra, Artur Gil, CLaire Brown, Ciara Raudsepp-Hearne, Cornelia Krug
Development Approach Concepts
Description Deliver conceptual paper and proof of concept of how the ecosystem services community can link to facilitate data sharing, standardization of concepts, cooperation and collaboration.
Timeline 2017 2018 2019 2020
Milestones and/or Deliverables
Resources
Link with other activities ES2.2. Metadata and data standards for remote sensing; ES2.6. Multi scale assessments of ecosystem services; ES3.4. Directory of ecosystem services assessments; ES3.1. BON-in-a-Box for ecosystem services; EBV Data Task Force
4. Ecosystem Services in Global Sustainability Policies
Lead Ilse Geijzendorffer
Team Emmanuelle Cohen-Shacham, Anna Cord, Wolfgang Cramer, Carlos Guerra, Berta Martín-López, Kai Chan. Partners: TdV, IUCN, UFZ, IMBE, iDIV and Leuphana University
Development Approach Application and tools
Description This activity aims at linking ecosystem services with Aichi targets and SDGs and explore how indicators can help to monitor policy goals. EESVs should be relevant for decisions makers and could be used to identify highlight knowledge gaps that create biases in how political reports and decisions are informed. To generate a first estimation of this knowledge gap for the EEVs related to ES flows, we determined 1) which services are currently being mentioned in SDGs and Aichi targets; 2) which EESV flow variables are currently being demanded for reporting on global policy targets on sustainability; 3) which of these knowledge demands is already being provided upon in national ecosystem assessments.
Timeline 2017 2018 2019 2020
Milestones and/or Deliverables Geijzendorffer, IR, Cohen-Shacham, E., Cord, A., Cramer, W., Guerra, C., Martín-López, B. 2017. Ecosystem Services in Global Sustainability Policies. Environmental Science and Policy 74:40-48
Resources
Link with other activities ES1.2. Dialogue with policy bodies Policy Task Force
5. Ecosystem Services and remote sensing
Lead Anna Cord
Team Guy Ziv, Ralf Seppelt, Becky Chaplin-Kramer, Kate Brauman, Andreas Huth, Matthias Schröter, Karla Locher, Domingo Alcaraz-Segura, Valia Drakou, Ana Stritih, Maria Vallejos, Daniela Braun, Petteri Vihervaara, Alessandro Gimona,Artur Gil (in islands), Ivette Serral, María Vallejos, Elena Bennett, Cristina Domingo
Development Approach Monitoring, Data Mobilisation, Modelling, Application and Tools
Description This activity aims at outlining the challenges and opportunities for assessing and monitoring ecosystem services using remote sensing. Managing ecosystem services in the context of global sustainability policies requires reliable monitoring mechanisms, and satellite Earth observation offers great promise to support this need. Significant challenges, however, remain in quantifying connections between ecosystem functions, the concomitant ecosystem services they underpin and human wellbeing benefits. The aim of this activity is to synthesize in which respect Earth observation together with socio-economic information and model-based analysis can support assessments and monitoring of ecosystem service supply, demand and benefit, and illustrate this for selected services. We argue that the full potential of satellite Earth observation is not yet realized in ecosystem service studies. To provide guidance for priority setting and to spur research in this area, we propose five priorities to advance the capabilities of Earth observation-based monitoring of ecosystem services in the future.
Timeline 2017 2018 2019 2020
Milestones and/or Deliverables Cord, A.F., Brauman, K.A., Chaplin-Kramer, R., Huth, A., Ziv, G., Seppelt, R. (2017). Priorities to advance monitoring of ecosystem services using Earth observation. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 32(6), 416-428.
Resources PhD grant funded through iDiv Flexpool.
Link with other activities Remote Sensing Task Force BON Development Working Group (BD3).
6. Metadata and data standards for remote sensing
Leads Valia Drakou, Joan Maso, Jan Philipp Schägner
Development Approach Monitoring, Data mobilization
Description Ecosystem Service assessment, mapping and quantification takes place in different spatio-temporal scales, socio-political context and for different policy objectives, which leads to an immense variety of approaches, methods, tools, modelling and mapping outputs. This group acknowledges the significance of maintaining this diversity, but also the need to bring these different approaches together, in order to facilitate data and information sharing for ecosystem services. The aim of this activity is to propose a set of data standards that can be used for monitoring ecosystem services. Until now, the need for setting up data standards for ecosystem services has been expressed among researchers, but such an attempt hasn’t been made yet. The group will work together on three major objectives:
i) making an overview of existing data standards and ontologies that can be used for ecosystem service
assessments;
ii) identifying the gaps and proposing a set of data standards for ecosystem services (linked initially
with EESVs);
iii) validate those data standards before their final establishment as an ontology.
The final output of this work, will be used to bring together in a systematic way the work done within Bon-in-a-Box (activity 3.1), but also to facilitate the process of data collection through remote sensing within the GEOBON community. After the test phase, the goal is to promote the use of those data standards to the global ES research community.
Timeline 2017 2018 2019 2020
Milestones and/or Deliverables Overview of data standards and ontologies for RS & link with ES classification systems: Data standard overview ES classification systems overview Synthesis and proposal of data standards with existing ontological systems: Submission of proposed ontology
Use/Testing/Validation of data standards by the rest of the Working Group
Publication of proposed data standards promote the use of those data standards to the global ES research community
Resources
Link with other activities ES1.1 Essential Ecosystem Services Variables; ES3.1. BON-in-a-Box for ecosystem services; ES3.2. Test EESV at national and sub-national level
This activity will also be supported by the EBV Data Task Force.
7. Cultural Ecosystem Services
Lead Guy Ziv
Team Anna Cord, Matthias Schröter, Jan, Roland Krämer, Artur Gil, Bruno Locatelli, Kai Chan, Valia Drakou, Philipp Schaegner
Development Approach Concepts, Monitoring
Description Challenges and opportunities for monitoring cultural ecosystem services using remote sensing or other global datasets (e.g. social media big data). Cultural ecosystem services are linked to widely recognized benefits people gain from nature, yet has been traditionally under-studied because they are intangible and perceptions on them are highly subjective, leading to difficulties in working with public, stakeholders and experts to quantify these. Given the need for more standard, regional- or global-scale monitoring of Ecosystem Services in general – there is clear need to develop science and tools to harness remote sensing and geolocated social media “big data” to cultural ecosystem services. This activity will produce one or two review / agenda-setting peer-reviewed publications on the topic.
Timeline 2017 2018 2019 2020
Milestones and/or Deliverables Conceptual framing: Development of a skeleton structure for literature review
Literature review on CES and EO: Manuscript submission to Ecosystem Services journal or similar
Literature review on CES and Social Media/Participatory Science: Manuscript submission to Ecosystem Services journal or similar
Resources
Link with other activities Remote Sensing TF
8. Social Ecological Indicators for IPBES
Lead Patty Balvanera
Team Tuyeni Mwampamba, Berta Martin-Lopez, Ilse Geijzendorfer, Domingo Alcaraz-Segura, María Vallejos, Carlos, Artur Gil, Antonio J. Castro, Vânia Proença, Cornelia Krug, HyeJin Kim
Development Approach Application and tools
Description Regional and global assessment of the status and trends of biodiversity and ecosystem services that are currently underway have been led by silo approaches that fail to expose the complex interactions between social and ecological processes that contribute to those trends. Working closely with the IPBES Knowledge TSU, this effort consists of identifying those indicators that help complete our understanding of how other factors such as institutions, governance, values and preferences determine current status and future projections. The final expected outcomes are a set of key indicators that assessments will use to facilitate development of narratives that give a more complete assessment of where we are, why, future projections and the social-political contexts that have led to current status and which could contribute to future sustainable pathways.
Timeline 2017 2018 2019 2020
Milestones and/or Deliverables
  • Complete list of key SE indicators approved by IPBES executive board
  • authors of global assessments applying indicators to their work
  • Assessment of extent of use of the indicators and insights they provide
  • survey of global assessment authors for experience with their application
Development of manuscript of the indicators and experiences with their application
Resources
Link with other activities ES1.2. Dialogue with policy bodies; ES2.8. Social ecological dynamics and ecosystem services. This activity will also be supported by the Policy TF and contribute to the EBV Framework TF.
9. Relational Values
Lead Kai Chan
Team Berta Martín-López, Tuyeni Mwampamba, Patricia Balvanera
Development Approach Concepts, Monitoring
Description Relational values have been little explored in the ecosystem services literature and they present unique challenges in terms of monitoring and reporting. This activity will explore the implications of including relational values in assessments ecosystem services, the opportunities and challenges that
exist for monitoring relational values.
Timeline 2017 2018 2019 2020
Milestones and/or Deliverables
Resources
Link with other activities
10. Multiscale assessments of Ecosystem Services
Lead Elena Bennett
Team Nicolas, Artur Gil (in islands), Bruno Locatelli, Claire Brown, Ilse Geijzendoffer, Guy Ziv, Anna Cord; María Vallejos, Becky Chaplin-Kramer, Ciara Raudsepp-Hearne
Development Approach Data Mobilization, Modelling, Application and tools
Description Challenges and opportunities for developing multi-scale assessments of ecosystem services. Using ecosystem services to assess global and local sustainability will require multi-scale assessments that take into account relationships between demand and supply at multiple scales, including assessments of the role of trade and other teleconnections in the provision of multiple, interacting services and their sustainability. We will develop (and potentially test) a method for assessing demand and supply of a set of ecosystem services at multiple scales.
Timeline 2017 2018 2019 2020
Milestones and/or Deliverables
  • Conceptual framing: What would one need to measure for demand, supply of multiple services at multiple scales; How to incorporate trade and other teleconnections; Best methods for those measurements (including models)
  • Workshop to discuss, and frame out paper
  • Development of conceptual paper
  • Testing of method (ideally, in multiple locations)
  • Writing of analytical papers
  • Writing proof of concept paper
  • Testing of method (ideally, in multiple locations)
  • Writing of analytical papers
  • Writing proof of concept paper
Resources
Link with other activities Link to be developed with National, Regional and thematic BONs to develop case studies across scales.
11. Trade-offs among ecosystem services
Leads Becky Chaplin-Kramer, Ciara Raudsepp -Hearne, Patty Balvanera
Team Anna Cord, Artur Gil (in islands), Bruno Locatelli, Daniel Karp, Antonio J. Castro, Guy Ziv, Elena Bennett, Alessandro Gimona
Development Approach Concepts, Monitoring, Application and tools
Description Monitoring tradeoffs of ecosystem services through space and time. Assessments of changes in ecosystems need to account for the ability of ecosystems to supply and deliver services to societies but also on tradeoffs and synergies among services. Yet, little is known about how services are related to each other and which services can be delivered in the same spatial areas. Moving observation systems beyond single services to the full bundle of services (a set of services that tend to co-occur in space or time), to quantify and reflect the synergies (positive interactions) and trade-offs (negative interactions) is a major challenge for current research efforts. Also, an understanding of the interactions among stakeholders that have differential preferences for the traded-off services is needed. This activity will explore conceptual approaches and analytic methods for assessing how trade-offs among ecosystem services change through space and time resulting from biophysical and societal changes.
Timeline 2017 2018 2019 2020
Milestones and/or Deliverables Conceptual approach: Develop outline of conceptual approach to accounting for tradeoffs/synergies at different scales
Analytic paper: Reexamine draft of previously developed paper on this topic and reframe to match conceptual outline above
Conceptual approach: Development of conceptual paper
Analytic paper: Development of analytic paper comparing tradeoffs and synergies across case studies
Resources
Link with other activities
Data Products
Documents & Publications
Partners
Resources