Technical Report 125

Step 2: Assign importance rankings to each habitat x ecosystem service combination using published information

The relative importance of broad habitats for delivering ecosystem services have been classified as ‘+’ small (+), intermediate (++), large (+++) or unknown (?) based on the following publications: UNEP (2006); Haines-Young and Potschin (2008); Vandewalle et al (2008); IFPRI, GIPB (2008); EFSA Panel on Plant Protection Products and their Residues (2010); Harrison et al (2010); Wali et al (2010); UK National Ecosystem Assessment (2011); KPMG, NVI (2011) and Gómez-Baggethun et al (2013). The resulting matrix (Table 2.3) was used for all case studies.

The EFSA Panel on Plant Protection Products and their Residues (2010) evaluated the relative importance of 30 ecosystem services in five components of European agro-ecosystems: within crops, edge of field margins, terrestrial habitats away from field, small edge of field surface waters, large surface waters. The UK National Ecosystem Assessment (2011) provided information on the relative importance of 8 broad habitats (mountains, moorlands and heaths, semi-natural grasslands, enclosed farmland, woodlands, freshwaters, urban, coastal margins, marine) in delivering 16 final ecosystem services. The marine and coastal ecosystems synthesis report from the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment provides examples of significant amounts of service provision by 12 coastal and marine habitats (UNEP, 2006) and ecosystem services provided by urban areas have been classified and described by Gómez-Baggethun et al (2013). Ranking of productivity across habitats is based on Wali et al (2010).

Haines-Young and Potschin (2008) evaluated ecosystem service provision by UK terrestrial and freshwater Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) habitats. A questionnaire survey of BAP lead-authors was used to elicit information about the potential ecosystem services or benefits associated with each habitat. This information, which was supplemented by a literature review and a series of expert workshops, was used to identify associations between 28 services and 19 broad habitats.

The EU 6th Framework Project RUBICODE, performed a detailed review of 31 ecosystem services provided by European terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity (Vandewalle et al, 2008). The relative importance of services was first evaluated using information from an extensive literature search. The results of the literature search were then considered by international scientific experts at a workshop and via an e‑conference. The agreed qualitative importance rankings for 23 ecosystem services provided by 8 ecosystems – agro-ecosystems, forests, semi-natural grasslands, heathlands / shrublands, mountains, soil systems, rivers and lakes, wetlands – are presented in Harrison et al (2010).

Few studies have evaluated the role of sparsely vegetated land in delivering ecosystem services and therefore the relative importance of this habitat for providing many ecosystem services is unknown (Table 2.3). For this reason, sparsely vegetated land was not considered in the case studies.

Table 2.3: The relative importance of broad habitats for delivering ecosystem services (+ small; ++ intermediate; +++ large; ? unknown). Blank cells indicate that the habitat is not considered important for delivering the ES of interest