The social dimension of biodiversity policy in the European Union: Valuing the benefits to vulnerable communities

Andrea Ghermandi, Helen Ding, Paulo A.L.D. Nunes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper uses GIS-based mapping tools and economic valuation of ecosystem goods and services to explore the social dimension of biodiversity policy. We investigate the linkages between biodiversity, ecosystem service values, and socio-economic vulnerability indicators in a spatially explicit framework and at different geographic scales. Our focus is on Europe, where biodiversity and ecosystem benefits have been well studied for many ecosystems, such as forests, coastal ecosystems and freshwater wetlands. The analysis focuses in particular on rural agricultural areas and remote mountainous regions accounting for the differences across various income groups, both at national and regional levels. The results of the study provide useful insights for EU policymakers in designing policy instruments that can promote biodiversity conservation and prevent natural resource degradation, on the one hand, while contributing to social stability and human livelihoods, on the other hand.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-208
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
StatePublished - Nov 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are thankful to European Commission , DG Environment, under contract 070307/2009/550766/ETU/F1 , the Social Dimension of Biodiversity Policy, for its financial support. We express our personal appreciation of the valuable comments expressed by Patrick ten Brink, Matt Rayment and two anonymous referees on previous versions of the manuscript. The authors are also thankful to Rosimeiry Portela and Miroslav Honzák for their input at various stages of the research.


  • Biodiversity benefit
  • Biodiversity policy
  • European Union
  • Spatial analysis
  • Vulnerable groups

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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