Exemplar 10. Pan-European regulatory Directives

Exemplar 10. Pan-European regulatory Directives


The objective of this exemplar is to evaluate how recent and forthcoming EU policy developments affect the levels of ecosystem services and natural capital in Europe.


Many of Europe’s natural habitats and species are in decline. While the EU has a number of policies in place to safeguard habitats and species, losses are ongoing for many habitats, species and associated ecosystem services. This exemplar:

Focuses on recent and forthcoming EU policy developments that affect land use decisions. Through land use change policies explicitly or implicitly affecting the levels of ecosystem services and natural capital (ES/NC) in Europe.
Studies the synergies and trade-offs that policy developments (or lack thereof) may have on the supply and value of ES/NC in Europe.

Assesses how policy developments interact with existing policies for the protection of ES/NC, like the Birds Directive, the Habitats Directive and the Water Framework Directive. 

Location Description

The European Union (see map).


Continental, Sub-continental, National, Subnational, 


Stakeholders include those involved with developing, operationalising and implementing (EU’s) environmental policies e.g. policy makers, decision makers, land use planners, practitioners, incl. businesses, consultants and NGOs in development and conservation.

Methods and Tools used in the case study

Methods include:

  • Land use, vegetation and climate change modelling
  • Ecosystem services/ natural capital indicators and models
  • Policy assessment
  • Biodiversity offset metrics
  • Benefit transfer functions
  • Policy instruments 

Key Findings

  • Business–as-Usual scenarios of land use change in Europe have widespread negative effects on ES/NC supply (Tucker et al. 2014; Schulp et al. in review).
  • Policy measures to avoid, minimize and offset impacts on (semi)natural habitats are projected to be effective in  reducing impacts, although fully meeting no net loss is very challenging. The effectiveness of policy measures changes across the EU, and multiple mechanisms are responsible for this. See Schulp et al (in review).
  • When applied appropriately, biodiversity offsets are one solution to widespread, poorly‐compensated biodiversity loss (Quétier et al. 2015).

Success Factors

Individual research, particularly on ecosystem services mapping and on No Net Loss/offset policy, is being actively pursued and published as there is great interest in mapping and modelling ecosystem services (particularly from the policy side).

Additional Information

Key outputs include:

Mazza L., Schiller J. (2014). The use of eco-accounts in Baden-Württemberg to implement the German Impact Mitigation Regulation: A tool to meet EU’s No-Net-Loss requirement? A case study report prepared by IEEP with funding from the Invaluable and OPERAs project
Several chapters by Fabien Quetier and Anne-Charlotte Vaissiere in a book on offsets to be published in April 2015.

Input into numerous scientific publications.

Other Partners

Astrid van Teeffelen (VU Univ Amsterdam)

Peter Verburg (VU Univ Amsterdam)

Nynke Schulp (VU Univ Amsterdam)

Fabien Quétier (Biotope)

Anne-Charlotte Vaissière (Biotope)

Graham Tucker (IEEP)

Patrick ten Brink (IEEP)

Marianne Kettunen (IEEP)

Project Lead Contact details

VU University Amsterdam

Astrid van Teeffelen