Master Table: integration of maximum concerns from the four case studies
A master version of the case study Tables 5.1 to 5.4 was made by taking the highest level of concern for each habitat x ES cell. From the habitats perspective, the pattern in Table 5.5 shows that high concern was particularly apparent for habitats in the transition between freshwater and marine. This result is clearly driven by the selection of the case studies and the related proximity to the sources of pollution, combined with the ‘sensitivity’ of some services and the organisms which provide them. In contrast, in more remote habitats (e.g. shelf, open ocean), high concern regarding the delivery of different ecosystem services is the exception.
The integration of the different case studies produced high concern combinations in all (four) ecosystem services categories with no clear focus on any one category. The highest frequency of concern across habitats was found for the services ‘genetic resources’ and ‘recreation and ecotourism’, which are not habitat specific and are generally perceived to be particularly susceptible to negative impacts by chemicals. In this context it should be noted that the ecosystem service ‘genetic resources’ is treated inconsistently by different authorities. While the definition of this ecosystem service used in this report is rather strict with a clear focus on genetic information suitable for animal and plant breeding and biotechnology (cf. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005b), the term is sometimes used synonymously with biodiversity. As a consequence, all species would be considered to be potentially important sources of genetic information. This leads to the numerous habitats in which this ecosystem service is considered to be of high importance and to the relatively large number of high concern combinations (see Table 2.3 in Chapter 2). In 2015, EFSA published guidance to define protection goals for environmental risk assessment in relation to biodiversity and ecosystem services (EFSA 2015). This guidance outlines the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem services and helps rectify the consideration of genetic resources in defining protection goals.
The provisioning service ‘food’ is also assumed to be sensitive to chemical pollutants; however, the prevailing medium concern in this example can be explained by the lower importance of exposed habitats in delivering this service (cf. Table 2.3, Chapter 2).
Table 5.5: Summary of potential concerns, obtained by integrating all case studies. Black: high concern; dark grey: medium concern; light grey: low concern; white: negligible concern