Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES) are central to the European Biodiversity Strategy. Action 5 of the Strategy’s second target asks all EU member states to map and assess the state of ecosystems and their services in their national territories. The MAES working group is mandated to coordinate and oversee Action 5. It proposed a conceptual framework linking biodiversity, ecosystem condition, and ecosystem services to human well-being. The MAES framework provides typology for ecosystems, a set of indicators for assessment of ecosystem condition, and mapping of ecosystem services (ES). The main elements of the framework which cover the core activities are presented in the conceptual scheme developed within the frame of the ESMERALDA project.
The framework in Bulgaria includes nine methodologies corresponding to the main ecosystem types in MAES typology with a uniform structure, including third-level ecosystem typology, the mapping of ecosystem types, assessment of ecosystem condition, and assessment of ES.
One of the main principles in the MAES framework indicates that any assessment of ecosystems should be focused on a specific topic and covers a wide range of issues related to management decision-making processes at different levels of government and between different social groups. With this project, we aim to develop the topic of water-related ecosystem services (WRES), which has not yet been developed entirely in Bulgaria.
The implementation of this project relies on the integration of elements of the nine ecosystem methodologies and their further development for specific ES such as the regulation of hydrological risks and water quality. The main output will be a flexible methodology based on modern approaches to spatial analysis and modeling. This methodology will allow quantifying the implementation of nature-based solutions (NBS) for activities such as flood risk management, erosion, climate change mitigation, and adaptation, such as mitigation of the impact of heatwaves and “heat islands” in the urban environment, etc.