The next step is to place ecosystem services in the centre of decision-making and environmental policies.
Ecosystem or environmental services are those services resulting from ecosystem function which are of utility to society, promoting wellbeing. Examples are the production of clean water, soil formation, climate regulation by forests, pollination, etc. Though many of these services go unnoticed, they must be conserved because they support human health, economy, and quality of life. When they are not adequately preserved their degradation is accompanied by serious negative affects for human wellbeing.
For this reason, ecosystem services are increasingly being moved to the center of national and European policies, and used as indicators of the quality of society's interaction with the environment. The next step is to place ecosystem services in the centre of decision-making and environmental policies. Once this is done we will have the tools to identify what management options can help mitigate the effects of global change, optimize the benefits, and avoid costs and potential risks to ecosystems and societies.
- Social and ecological vulnerability: We identify the ecosystem services of watersheds in order to establish adaptation measures which increase their resilience.
- Definition, evaluation and mapping of biophysical indicators: We measure the main functions and ecosystem services of forests, including provisioning services (mushrooms, fresh water), regulating services (carbon sink capacity of forests, water regulation), cultural services (nature tourism) and support services (biodiversity).
- Prediction and models: We formulate predictions of climate change’s impacts ecosystem services and their adaptation, with particular attention to extreme climatic phenomena. To accomplish this we integrate models for land use change, forests, and the landscape.
- Remote sensing and GIS: Using remote sensing data (MODIS, Landsat, Sentinel, etc.), we conduct monitoring over time and space and create cartographic products for ecosystem service indicators.
- Synergies and trade-offs: We analyze synergies and trade-offs between different ecosystem services on the ground (spatial relationships) and with time (temporal relationships), also taking into account relationships between flows of service supply and demand.
- Soil microorganisms: We study the services offered by soil microorganisms, including the regulation of some terrestrial biogeochemical cycles such as the retention and release of N and C.
- Citizen science: We develop ecosystem service indicators using citizen science. These projects generate data on a large scale and can be based on standardized methodologies as well as opportunistic observations. The indicators developed range from support and regulating services to cultural services.
- Pollinator communities: We study pollinator communities providing the pollination service. We analyze the relationships between these communities and fruit and seed production in natural environments as well as agricultural systems.
- Pests: We study the community of insects which can act as natural enemies of fruit tree pests.