Biodiversity

Our Work

Our work supports the EU's objective of halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services by 2020. This includes assessing the costs and socio-economic benefits of conserving biodiversity and associated ecosystem services, and developing evidence-based polices that help implement and finance EU biodiversity conservation measures. IEEP has extensive experience of biodiversity-related policy analysis in agricultural, freshwater and marine ecosystems and has pioneered measures to tackle invasive alien species and the impacts of climate change on biodiversity. We primarily work on policy analysis and development projects for the European Commission, but also contribute to the biodiversity conservation work of national governments, NGOs and other international governmental organisations.

The EU has a relatively well-established biodiversity conservation policy framework, now formalised in the 2010 EU Biodiversity Strategy, at the heart of which are the Habitats Directive and Birds Directive, which have created the Natura 2000 network – the largest network of protected areas in the world. These Directives include legislative measures that require Member States to conserve and restore EU threatened habitats and species, both within Natura 2000 sites but also where necessary in the wider environment. The Biodiversity Strategy also includes targets that aim to restore ecosystems and their services, support the biodiversity conservation measures in agricultural, forest and marine ecosystems, address alien invasive species and reduce the EU’s external impacts on global biodiversity.

Despite this impressive framework ecosystems continue to be degraded and biodiversity is still being lost. This is due to slow, incomplete or inappropriate implementation, including weak enforcement, a lack of funding, and some important policy gaps.

A fundamental problem continues to be the undervaluation of biodiversity and its limited capture in economic systems. Therefore a key area of our work is demonstrating the value of biodiversity and ecosystem services to clearly show that biodiversity is worthy of protection, for its own sake and for its contribution to human well-being. This understanding is the basis for the development of policies that aim to support the conservation and restoration of biodiversity, for example through better regulations, cost-effective public funding (such as agri-environment schemes and other EU funds) and innovative market-based instruments (such as payments for ecosystem services and biodiversity offsets).

Latest in Biodiversity

  • Options for sustainable food and agriculture in the EU

    How should Europe respond to the increased demands on our food and agriculture systems arising from global population growth, changing diets, and competing demands on agricultural land? This report offers a view on how the EU could play a role in meeting these challenges in the coming decades and sets out some of the options which merit particular attention.

  • Europe’s role in feeding the world in 2050

    IEEP presents views on how Europe should respond to the increased demands on our food and agriculture systems arising from global population growth, changing diets, and competing demands on agricultural land.

  • Transforming our approach to water and wetlands

    Thursday 12th December: IEEP and UNEP are hosting two webinar discussions on the values of water and wetlands and how to mainstream these values into policy-making in order to promote wise use and management.

  • Assessing the social and economic benefits of protected areas in Europe

    A webinar on social and economic benefits of protected landscapes was organised by Europarc Atlantic Isles on 20 November. IEEP’s Marianne Kettunen kicked off the event by a European overview and some key considerations of assessing benefits in practice.

  • Understanding and valuing ecosystem services provided by the Baltic Sea

    IEEP’s Marianne Kettunen outlined key perspectives on the valuation of coastal and marine ecosystem services in a regional workshop on the Valuation of Marine and Coastal Ecosystem Services in the Baltic Sea, Stockholm (7-8 Nov 2013)

  • Four decades of EU environmental policy

    The latest edition of IEEP's newsletter is out. Director David Baldock reflects on 40 years of EU environmental policy, plus an update on biofuels policy, costs and benefits of energy savings, developing Natural Captal accounts, and much more...

  • Interactions between climate change and agriculture; and between biodiversity and agriculture in Europe

    What should be Europe’s role in feeding the world in 2050? This IEEP report for the European Parliament describes options for increasing the productivity of European agriculture whilst adapting to climate change, reducing emissions, and providing biodiversity and ecosystem service benefits from agriculture.

  • Recycling wastes and residues for sustainable bioenergy and biomaterials

    What should be Europe’s role in feeding the world in 2050, considering competing demands for land? This IEEP report for the European Parliament describes options for reusing food wastes and agricultural and forestry residues for biomaterials and bioenergy.

  • Social and Economic Benefits of Protected Areas

    A new book by IEEP researchers offers a comprehensive introduction to the socio-economic benefits of protected areas and provides step-by-step guidance on identifying, assessing and valuing the various benefits they provide.

  • Sectoral resource mobilisation to implement global biodiversity targets

    There is an urgent need to find sufficient resources to enable developing countries to implement the global targets for biodiversity by 2020. Financing the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity from different sectoral funding flows can complement global biodiversity financing.

  • Ecosystem services of boreal mires and peatlands in Finland

    Mire ecosystems are well-known for their unique species and habitats of high conservation value and they also provide a range of benefits to our societies and economies. This publication outlines the results of a pioneering project that aimed to identify and valuate ecosystem services provided by pristine mires and managed peatlands in Finland.

  • The end of a long wait: EU legislative proposal on IAS published

    The European Commission has published the long-waited proposal for EU legislative action on invasive alien species (IAS).

  • IEEP reports to the Science and Technology Options (STOA) Panel of the European Parliament

    Recycling for bioenergy and options for climate-resilient agriculture which benefits biodiversity: presentation to the Science and Technology Options Panel of the European Parliament

  • The Guide to Multi-Benefit Cohesion Policy Investments in Nature and Green Infrastructure

    Investments in nature and green infrastructure have helped meet Cohesion Policy objectives and vice-versa. This new guide presents some examples, tools and approaches making it a useful toolkit for stakeholders implementing Cohesion Policy up to 2020.

  • Does the EU benefit the UK environment?

    This report considers how environmental policy in the EU effects the UK and looks at some alternatives. Overall the impact within the environmental domain can be judged to be strongly positive to the UK. The action taken has been well balanced, with benefits for human health and welfare and the sustainability of the economy as well as the environment itself.

  • New book coming soon: Social and Economic Benefits of Protected Areas

    A new book by IEEP researchers will be published on 15 August offering a comprehensive introduction to the socio-economic benefits of protected areas and providing step-by-step guidance on identifying, assessing and valuing the various benefits they provide.

  • Guidance manual for TEEB country studies - Version 1.0

    Co-authored by IEEP staff, the Manual is for anyone who is considering or currently undertaking a TEEB country study. Its purpose is to provide guidance throughout the entire TCS cycle, from initiation to policy analysis and ecosystem service valuations, communicating findings, and using results to support decision making.

  • Summer newsletter - CAP: Starting on a new track

    The latest edition of IEEP's quarterly newsletter is now available. Read how IEEP continues to push forward the future of biofuels policy, plus reactions to the latest CAP agreements, and much more…

  • Estimation of the financing needs to implement Target 2 of the Biodiversity Strategy

    IEEP assessed the financing needs to implement Target 2 of the Biodiversity Strategy (target to maintain ecosystem services and restore 15% of degraded ecosystems by 2020) with eftec. The report showed that a large increase in funding will be required if Target 2 is to be attained, but also that there are a range of potential funding sources that could be increasingly used.

  • Incorporating biodiversity and ecosystem service values into national strategies and action plans

    This guidance document has been prepared to support practitioners of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans to update their plans to incorporate biodiversity and ecosystem service values. Six in depth country case studies provide common lessons of good practice.