Ecosystems Services, Mapping and Assessment

Ecosystems are multifunctional communities of living organisms interacting with each other and their environment.

Ecosystems provide a series of services for human well-being (ecosystem services) either directly (as food and fibre) or indirectly by providing clean air and water.

Biodiversity plays a key role in the functioning of ecosystems and their ability to provide ecosystem services. Biodiversity is highly threatened by human activities and continues to be lost.

The value of biodiversity and benefits from ecosystem services reach far beyond that which can be measured in financial terms. Many of interdependencies between biodiversity, ecosystems structures, functions and processes and benefits to humans are not yet fully understood or appreciated.

By assessing and valuing the known benefits of ecosystem services we can demonstrate how the loss of biodiversity affects our economy, society and future development opportunities and how the cost of conserving biodiversity and healthy ecosystems often outweighs the costs of neglect and restoration.


Project background

NPWS commissioned a short project for a National Ecosystem and Ecosystem Services mapping pilot for a suite of prioritised services based on available data. The project completed in 2016.

In addition to highlighting the importance and values of biodiversity and ecosystems, the project set out to initiate discussion on how ecosystem services assessments can be integrated into mutlisectoral decision making processes in Ireland. The deliverables also contribute to meeting a number of Ireland's national, EU and UN obligations.

The project utilised available information and built upon existing approaches and tools including the MAES conceptual framework and the JNCC Spatial Framework approach and CICES (Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services) as well as initiatives and activities in Ireland.


Project report (Irish Wildlife Manual No. 95)

Parker, N., Naumann, E-K., Medcalf, K., Haines-Young, R., Potschin, M., Kretsch, C., Parker, J. & Burkhard, B. (2016) National ecosystem and ecosystem service mapping pilot for a suite of prioritised services. Irish Wildlife Manuals, No. 95. National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Ireland. Irish Wildlife Manual 95.

Download: Irish Wildlife Manual 95 (PDF, 9.16MB)

Download:  Appendices (PDF, 7.1MB)

Download:  Additional Reference Data (ZIP, 0.4MB)

Download: Ecosystem Services Spatial Framework Database (MS Access & supporting files, ZIP 7.88MB)


Project map and data resources

ESRI Story Map Viewer and Data Downloads (requires Story Map compatible browser)



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