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      Hotspots of biodiversity and ecosystem services: the Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories of the European Union

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      One Ecosystem

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          The obligations of the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2020 create a need for mapping and assessment of the state of biodiversity, ecosystems and their services in all European member states. Europe’s nine Outermost Regions (ORs) and 25 Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) are mainly islands, scattered around the globe. These territories contain unique flora and fauna and encompass diverse ecosystems, from coral reefs to rainforests. These highly diverse ecosystems provide multiple relevant ecosystem services from local to global scale. To date, the ecosystem services concept has so far received little attention in European ORs and OCTs. Therefore, our aims were (1) to analyse the current state of ecosystem services mapping and assessment in Europe’s overseas territories, (2) to identify knowledge gaps in the context of ecosystem service research and application and (3) to provide recommendations for future research and policy directions to fill these gaps. We conducted a systematic review of scientific literature for each of the ORs and OCTs, screening 1030 publications. The analysis resulted in 161 publications referring to ES mapping and assessment, of which most were conducted in the European Caribbean (31%) and Pacific (21%) territories. Results show that many ORs and OCTs are still blank spots in terms of ecosystem service mapping and assessment and that, despite many biodiversity studies referring to species’ abundance, little has been published on ecosystem services. Our systematic review highlights theknowledge lacking on dealing with invasive species, which pose major threats to native island biodiversity, ecosystem functions and ecosystem services. Further, it discusses knowledge gaps in (1) translation of information on island biodiversity and ecosystem functions into ES; (2) geographical coverage of mapping studies in most ORs and OCTs; (3) the lack of standardised approaches and integrated assessments to map, assess and value ecosystem services. Based on these results, future research and policy priorities could be adapted in order to focus on filling these gaps. To overcome current environmental policy challenges, it is crucial to address the ongoing decline in biodiversity, rising climatic and anthropogenic pressures on ecosystems and to maintain a sustainable ES flow to safeguard human well-being. Ultimately, ES mapping and assessment efforts will form the knowledge base for well-informed decision-making to protect Europe’s vulnerable overseas areas.

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          Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: the PRISMA statement

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            Current Status and Future Prospects for the Assessment of Marine and Coastal Ecosystem Services: A Systematic Review

            Background Research on ecosystem services has grown exponentially during the last decade. Most of the studies have focused on assessing and mapping terrestrial ecosystem services highlighting a knowledge gap on marine and coastal ecosystem services (MCES) and an urgent need to assess them. Methodology/Principal Findings We reviewed and summarized existing scientific literature related to MCES with the aim of extracting and classifying indicators used to assess and map them. We found 145 papers that specifically assessed marine and coastal ecosystem services from which we extracted 476 indicators. Food provision, in particular fisheries, was the most extensively analyzed MCES while water purification and coastal protection were the most frequently studied regulating and maintenance services. Also recreation and tourism under the cultural services was relatively well assessed. We highlight knowledge gaps regarding the availability of indicators that measure the capacity, flow or benefit derived from each ecosystem service. The majority of the case studies was found in mangroves and coastal wetlands and was mainly concentrated in Europe and North America. Our systematic review highlighted the need of an improved ecosystem service classification for marine and coastal systems, which is herein proposed with definitions and links to previous classifications. Conclusions/Significance This review summarizes the state of available information related to ecosystem services associated with marine and coastal ecosystems. The cataloging of MCES indicators and the integrated classification of MCES provided in this paper establish a background that can facilitate the planning and integration of future assessments. The final goal is to establish a consistent structure and populate it with information able to support the implementation of biodiversity conservation policies.
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              Placing marine protected areas onto the ecosystem-based management seascape.

              The rapid increase in the science and implementation of marine protected areas (MPAs) around the world in the past 15 years is now being followed by similar increases in the science and application of marine ecosystem-based management (EBM). Despite important overlaps and some common goals, these two approaches have remained either separated in the literature and in conservation and management efforts or treated as if they are one and the same. In the cases when connections are acknowledged, there is often little assessment of if or how well MPAs can achieve specific EBM goals. Here we start by critically evaluating commonalities and differences between MPAs and EBM. Next, we use global analyses to show where and how much no-take marine reserves can be expected to contribute to EBM goals, specifically by reducing the cumulative impacts of stressors on ocean ecosystems. These analyses revealed large stretches of coastal oceans where reserves can play a major role in reducing cumulative impacts and thus improving overall ocean condition, at the same time highlighting the limitations of marine reserves as a single tool to achieve comprehensive EBM. Ultimately, better synergies between these two burgeoning approaches provide opportunities to greatly benefit ocean health.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                One Ecosystem
                OE
                Pensoft Publishers
                2367-8194
                June 12 2018
                June 12 2018
                : 3
                : e24719
                Article
                10.3897/oneeco.3.e24719
                © 2018

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