The paper presents the current policy needs and gaps identified in the European Union (EU) Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories to implement Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystem and their Services (MAES) methodology. Then, a selection of the most appropriate tools and methods for mapping and assessing ecosystem services (biophysical, economic, socio cultural – and decision-support) is provided to address local needs. Using a performance matrix to assess the effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of these tools, key factors required to facilitate the implementation of an ecosystem services framework are identified by considering local needs and possibilities in terms of data availability, mapping support, ecosystem services assessment and decision- support. Our results show how effective and accurate various methods (e.g. process-based models, integrated modelling and most Decision-Supporting Tools) can be, or how efficient other methods are (e.g. value transfer, spatial proxy methods and replacement cost) in data-scarce regions. Participatory approaches score well in terms of sustainability as they allow the assessment of multiple ecosystem services (covering the biophysical, economic and social-cultural components of the assessment) with local stakeholders' contribution, therefore contributing to the awareness-raising dimension. There is no one- size-fits-all approach. Instead, there is a need for flexible, guidance-based ecosystem services mapping and assessment approaches in the EU Overseas entities to facilitate MAES implementation and to adapt and integrate those methods into scenario analysis and decision-supporting tools for better uptake of MAES outputs at the decision-making and policy levels in the EU Overseas entities.
- European Union Overseas entities
- ecosystem services valuation tools
- policy needs
- MOVE project