Enhancing Small-Medium IsLands resilience by securing the sustainability of Ecosystem Services

European islands are hotspots of biological and cultural diversity, which, compared to the mainland, are more vulnerable to climate change, tourism development, uncontrolled land use changes and financial crises. These factors have increasingly resulted in severe impacts on socio-economic and environmental services. Projected climate and land use change will impact on islands’ biodiversity but also on ecosystem services and in turn on the quality of life of island inhabitants. Even if the existing techniques can adequately predict climate-induced ecological changes of the larger islands, this is not the case for small and medium-sized islands where there is a need for refinement.

Although ecosystem services (ES) assessments have been carried out worldwide in different geographical areas, islands are still underrepresented. Despite the islands’s importance and vulnerability, efforts to date have focused solely on the pressures they face. Still, we know little about ES supplies, flows and demands and their spatio-temporal variability, whilst integrated approaches that consider ES cross-island realms (terrestrial, marine and their interface) remain scarce. Moreover, the current conceptual approaches guiding ES mapping and assessment need further refinement to account for the complex manifestations of nature and culture arising from peoples’ interaction with island spaces.

This COST action aims to provide a platform for coordinated interdisciplinary research on several aspects of mapping and assessment of ES in small and medium European Islands to synthesise and strengthen the knowledge base for the conservation of island realms and contribute to their sustainable development.

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COST Action CA21158 - Enhancing Small-Medium IsLands resilience by securing the sustainability of Ecosystem Services 

Funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union