Ecosystem services supply in protected mountains of Greece: setting the baseline for conservation management

The mapping and assessment of ecosystems and their services, an initiative under the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, sets the basis for national ecosystem assessments in EU Member States, including Greece. The highly diverse and heterogeneous Greek landscape provides multiple ecosystem services (ES) and benefits to society. However, the rich knowledge base corresponds to limited research to support a national ecosystem assessment in Greece. In this paper, we apply a rapid method to map ecosystem types and quantify ES supply provided by mountainous protected areas. Using habitat type level data, we created a detailed ecosystem type map that was used as a baseline to assess the supply of provisioning and regulating and maintenance ES. We also applied a site-oriented approach to record and score the ES supply in each protected area. Summing up individual ES supply resulted in a total ES supply map which was used to identify ES hot spot areas within the Greek Natura 2000 mountainous sites. The results: (1) corroborate the hypothesis that protected areas should be treated as high value bio-physical and social-cultural complexes accounting for a significant part of the national capital; (2) highlight data gaps at the national level and limitations of ES mapping methods under such data restrictions; (3) are intended to provide to stakeholders and decision-makers, baseline information for future applied research and conservation management actions.

EDITED BY Matthias Schröter

EDITED BY Matthias Schröter