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

  • 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.

  • Webinar: Incorporating biodiversity into national strategies and action plans

    IEEP has just produced a roadmap and guidance document to help practitioners to incorporate biodiversity and ecosystem values into their NBSAPs. See case study examples and tune into the webinars on June 5 and 7.

  • Land as an Environmental Resource

    How can we meet the different and often conflicting demands we make on our limited supply of rural land in Europe? A more strategic approach to the way in which land is used is needed than has been the case in the past. This report for DG Environment looks at the data, the challenges and the policy options for Europe.

  • Biodiversity proofing of the EU budget

    This study shows how more can be done to firstly avoid and minimize detrimental impacts of EU funding on biodiversity, and secondly to increase biodiversity benefits.

  • Land use mapping for sustainable biofuels

    IEEP and WWF join forces to define criteria and principles to guide the mapping of appropriate land use to ensure sustainable biofuel crops.

  • Socio-economic importance of ecosystem services in the Nordic countries

    New TEEB-inspired regional assessment (published on 31 January) shows that nature and its ecosystem services are of high socio-economic significance for the Nordic countries. In order to be truly sustainable, Nordic economic systems need to build on a more comprehensive appreciation and understanding of the value of natural capital.

  • Addressing ILUC? The European Commission’s proposal on indirect land use change

    The European Commission’s proposal on indirect land use change – what’s in it for mitigating emissions? Read IEEP’s latest Biofuel ExChange briefing.

  • The role of bioenergy in Europe's energy future

    IEEP’s review questions the potential contribution of increased use of biomass for heat and electricity generation to reduce emissions.

  • Bioenergy and climate change: hard questions to answer

    We have a policy framework which will drive greater use of bioenergy to 2020 but with no associated guarantee of reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, concludes IEEP report.

  • Increasing regional prosperity by investing in nature: Guidance to mainstream biodiversity

    Investment in natural capital through the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems has a lot to offer for regional development. A new publication authored by IEEP provides guidance on integrating biodiversity into EU Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in 2014-2020.

  • Nature and its role in the transition to a Green Economy

    This new IEEP-authored report highlighting the importance of nature to the economy aims to clarify and help mainstream nature’s role in the transition to a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.

  • Draft ILUC proposal leaked

    The European Commission's draft proposal for a Directive on the indirect land use change (ILUC) from biofuels was leaked to the public in mid-September 2012. This briefing summarises and reacts to these leaked proposals.

  • Resource mobilisation at the heart of CBD COP discussions

    The eyes of the world’s biodiversity community are on Hyderabad as Parties to the Convention tackle the pressing challenges faced in implementing the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, including mobilising sufficient resources to translate the Plan into concrete action.

  • Exploring key priorities and actions for the 7th EAP

    This policy paper examines how the forthcoming 7EAP can contribute to protecting natural systems and improving the way in which we use natural resources. It also examines a number of cross-cutting actions needed to support the priorities of the 7EAP and ensure better delivery of EU environment policy.