MAES-related developments in Greece

Deliverables in the frame of the ongoing LIFE-IP 4Natura project

  • Technical-Methodological guide on the determination and assessment of the Ecosystem Types in Greece and their Ecosystem Services at national, regional and local scale (Deliverable of Life IP 4 Natura project))
  • The first glossary in Greek for MAES related studies [translation from the paper of Potschin-Young, M.; Burkhard, B.; Czúcz, B. and F. Santos-Martín (2018): Glossary of ecosystem services mapping and assessment terminology. One Ecosystem 3: e27110.], was delivered in the frame of the Life IP 4 Natura project.
  • National Set of Ecosystem Services (ES) Indicators: Technical report (Deliverable of Life IP 4 Natura project)   (updated, September 2019)
  • MAES field surveys for the national assessment using a pre-defined field protocol for ecosystem condition and ecosystem services assessment: Each ecosystem type present at the 10x10 Km grid cells, is surveyed and assessed for its condition and ecosystem services. Field work was until now held at the territories of Peloponnese, Crete, Thraki, Ionian Islands, Aegean Islands and Central Macedonia (on-going survey in the frame of the Life IP 4 Natura project) (updated, September 2019)
  • Development of an online tool for the national scale MAES study:  a web-based database to register data from field MAES surveys (MAES field protocols). An integrated algorithm is developed to automatically calculate ecosystem condition and ecosystem services score, using the registered field data information (Deliverable of Life IP 4 Natura project)(updated, September 2019)
  • Drafting the Ecosystem services’ priority areas map of Greece: This deliverable of the LIFE-IP 4 NATURA project (LIFE16 IPE/GR/000002) entitled "Ecosystem services’ priority areas map of Greece", concerns the identification, recording and mapping of main ecosystem services in Greece and drafting the relevant thematic maps, on a national and regional scale. Data were collected from official bodies and resources on the main categories of ecosystem services (i.e. Provisioning, Regulating and maintenance, Cultural). For the categorization of the collected data, the main categories of the National Set of Ecosystem Services Indicators (previous deliverable of Action A3) were used, i.e.: Biodiversity, Environmental Quality, Food, material and energy, Forestry, Recreation, Water resources. The results of the analysis highlighted areas where a) simultaneous occurrence of data for the various categories of ecosystem services is observed and b) data gaps are evident. Consequently, a series of relevant thematic maps have been created, which form the basis for the selection and identification of areas where further research and prioritization for the implementation of Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services is required. The final thematic maps (Ecosystem services’ priority areas maps of Greece), which is the core of this Deliverable, form the basis for further research and the communication of the until-now results towards the decision- and policy- making centers. These maps also contribute and support the efforts towards implementation of national and European policies for the environment and sustainable development
  • Dimopoulos, P., Kokkoris, Ι., Chrysafi, I. & Mallinis, G., (2020). Ecosystem services’ priority areas map of Greece. LIFE-IP 4 NATURA: Integrated Actions for the Conservation and Management of Natura 2000 Sites, Species, Habitats and Ecosystems in Greece (LIFE16 IPE/GR/000002). Deliverable of Action A.3. Ministry of Environment and Energy, Athens, pp. 33. (February 2021 update)
  • Drafting the Ecosystem types map of Greece within the Natura 2000 SACs (scale 1:5,000) (Map and technical report): Ecosystem type map of Greece within the Natura 2000 SACs and the relevant technical report have been prepared under sub-action A.3.1: Mapping and assessment of ecosystem types at two levels (a) within the Natura 2000 network areas and (b) in the rest of the country, of Action A3 entitled Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES) of the project LIFE-IP 4 NATURA (LIFE16 IPE / GR / 000002): INTEGRATED ACTIONS FOR OPERATION AND DISTRIBUTION AREAS OF NATURA 2000 NETWORK, HABITAT SPECIES AND ECOSYSTEMS IN GREECE. More specifically, the technical report concerns the drafting of the Ecosystem Types Map of the Natura 2000 protected areas of Greece (Special Conservation Zones and Special Conservation Zones which are also Special Protection Areas) and is an accompanying, informative document of this map. It includes: (a) the implemented methodological approach, (b) the proportion of the different ecosystem types within the Natura 2000 Network and (c) the distribution of the ecosystem types in the administrative districts of the country (NUTS2 level), so that the results of the map act synergistically with the results of the Deliverable of Action A.3 "Map of priority areas for ecosystem services in Greece" and (d) the distribution of habitat types of priority importance for conservation in the EU among the different ecosystem types.
  • Kokkoris, Ι., Eliadou E., Verde, N., Mallinis, G. & Dimopoulos, P. (2020). Map of the Ecosystem types of Greece within the Natura 2000 SACs (scale 1:5,000). LIFE-IP 4 NATURA: Integrated Actions for the Conservation and Management of NATURA 2000 Sites, Species, Habitats and Ecosystems in Greece (LIFE16 IPE/GR/000002). Deliverable of Action A.3. Ministry of Environment and Energy, Athens, pp. 71. (February 2021 update)
  • Drafting the Ecosystem types map of Greece outside Natura 2000 SACs: This map and the relevant technical report has been compiled for the fulfilment of sub-action A.3.1: “Mapping and assessment of ecosystem types in two levels: (a) inside Natura 2000 SACs and (b) outside Natura 2000 SACs”, which belongs to Action A.3: “Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystem and their Services - MAES” of the project: “Integrated actions for the conservation and management of Natura 2000 sites, species, habitats and ecosystems in Greece”. This deliverable presents a workflow regarding land use/ cover (LULC) classification, with the aid of Remote Sensing, which was used in order to map ecosystem types that are located outside Natura 2000 in Greece. Specifically, machine learning classification algorithm models have been developed and assessed. The compiled models were based on an object-based classification approach and incorporated/included free-access satellite data, such as Sentinel-1 A/B and Sentinel-2 imagery. Moreover, LULC geospatial data, which cover the entire of Greece, have been employed (e.g. vector data), along with land cover products such as the EU High Resolution Layers that have been acquired via the Copernicus programme. The developed methodology managed to handle effectively the challenges that were related to the computational and time requirements regarding data processing and analysis for the mapping of ecosystems at national scale with the use of cloud computing and specifically by employing the Google Earth Engine (GEE). The report comprises of four chapters. Chapter 1 introduces basic terms and definitions regarding ecosystems. Furthermore, it highlights the importance of ecosystem mapping. Chapter 2 presents the methodology which was employed for the development of the ecosystem types classification models and also analyzes the workflow steps that were followed for the effective mapping of ecosystem types in Greece (outside Natura 2000), in order to fulfil the sub-action A.3.1 objectives while it also provides a synoptic description of cloud computing technology for remote sensing data processing. Chapter 3 involves the assessment/evaluation of the classification models that were developed and also presents the results of accuracy assessment and the quality of the compiled maps. Finally, Chapter 4 provides a synoptic discussion concerning the results of the compiled maps and the methodological approach that was employed.
  • Verde, N., Kokkoris, Ι., Dimopoulos, P., Korakis, G., & Mallinis, G. (2020). Ecosystem type map of Greece outside Natura 2000 SACs (scale 1:50,000). LIFE-IP 4 NATURA: Integrated Actions for the Conservation and Management of NATURA 2000 Sites, Species, Habitats and Ecosystems in Greece (LIFE16 IPE/GR/000002). Deliverable of Action A.3. Ministry of Environment and Energy, Athens, pp. 57. (February 2021 update)
  • Presentation at the ESP Regional Conference of the study entitled: “A multidisciplinary critical review of ecosystem services studies in Greece: approaches, shortcomings and the pathway to implementation”, by Dimopoulos et al. (2018) (updated, September 2019)
  • The present study aims to (i) synthesize the ecosystem services literature relevant to the ES implementation in Greece, (ii) validate and classify each literature source to the relevant ecosystem services categories, (iii) identify shortcomings in terms of ES assessed and data available, and (iv) critically review the variety of approaches to ES assessments that are followed. The outcomes of this study will facilitate the efficient implementation of ecosystem services assessments in Greece
  • Presentation at the ESP Regional Conference of the study entitled: “Ecosystem services as a tool for policy support and decision making: an exploratory assessment in a protected mountainous lake (Stymfalia, Greece)”, by Kokkoris et al. (2018) (updated, September 2019)
  • This is a large-scale study in a Natura 2000 protected area (Special Area for Conservation), which includes biophysical and social assessment as well as economic valuation for future scenarios, to support decision and policy making. This is the first study in Greece which uses all available datasets from EU funded Projects (e.g. Monitoring projects for Habitats, Water resources etc.), in a Natura 2000 site, develops future scenarios and provides economic valuation for key ecosystem services
  •  Presentation at the ESP Regional Conference of the study entitled: “Insights from an exploratory assessment of Cultural Ecosystem Services in Greece”, by Vlami et al. (2018) (updated, September 2019)

  • In this research we screen for and identify several CES indicators within the Natura 2000 Network of Greece, as well as outside the Network where data was available. This assessment resulted in the compilation of a set of indicators ranging from specialized outdoor recreation interests (such as nature-viewing infrastructure, rafting areas, sacred natural sites, etc.) to site characterization proxies (such as blue-flag beach designations, traditional agriculture, "mythical landscapes" etc.). The analysis revealed that some types of indicators show redundancy or/and are complementary, while others are extremely specialized (e.g. birdwatching hotspots). GIS analysis produced heat maps and hotspots complementing a prioritization scheme that assists in highlighting the cultural ecosystem services both at the protected area scale and broader regional scale. A key outcome of the study is that uncertainties are defined and major gaps in progress are expressed. Thus, the analyses provide a kaleidoscope effect that may be helpful in expressing screening-level state-wide CES evaluations.

  • Presentation at the inter-regional workshop “Incredible: innovation networks for cork, resins & edibles” of the study entitled: Diversity and ecosystem services of the flora of Greece: the case study of Lamiaceae, by Cheminal et al. (2019) (updated, September 2019)

    This study focuses on the Lamiaceae endemic to Greece, a country well-known for its high endemism rate. This report first aims to summarize the properties (aromatic, medical potential, environmental interest...) and compositions of each taxon, and to evaluate the distribution of these rare plants. Maps have been created using GIS, pointing at hotspots and gaps in the repartition of the species, but also at patterns in the geographical repartition of the properties of interest. The gaps in the knowledge about these endemics are also highlighted at the taxon, molecule and geographical levels, showing on which fields further studies could be led. The review-and-location method used in this study could be seen as a tool for the management of the exploitation and of the protection of the endemic species of use. The limits and applications of this method are discussed

  • Participation and presentation of the MAES implementation progress in Greece via the LIFE-IP 4 NATURA, at High-level Conference for Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystem Service in EU, 13 Dec 2019, Helsinki (Oral presentation title: MAES implementation in Greece: a national-scale assessment for ecosystem condition and ecosystem services). (February 2021 update)


•Scientific paper entitled: Residents’ views on landscape and ecosystem services during a wind farm proposal in an island protected area, by Vlami et al. (2020). (February 2021 update)

•Scientific paper entitled: National set of MAES indicators in Greece: ecosystem services and management implications, by Kokkoris et al. (2020). (February 2021 update)

•Scientific paper entitled: Medicinal and Aromatic Lamiaceae Plants in Greece: Linking Diversity and Distribution Patterns with Ecosystem Services, by Alexian et al. (2020). (February 2021 update)

•Scientific paper entitled: Integrating Plant Diversity Data into Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystem and Their Services (MAES) Implementation in Greece: Woodland and Forest Pilot, by Kotsiras et al. (2020) (February 2021 update)

•Scientific paper entitled: National Scale Land Cover Classification for Ecosystem Services Mapping and Assessment, Using Multitemporal Copernicus EO Data and Google Earth Engine, by Verde et al. (2020) (February 2021 update)

•Scientific paper entitled: How historical land use/land cover changes affected ecosystem services in lake Pamvotis, Greece, by Latinopoulos et al (2020) (February 2021 update)

•Scientific paper entitled: Filling the Gap between Ecosystem Services Concept and River Basin Management Plans: The Case of Greece in WFD 20+, by Kagalou et al. (2020) (February 2021 update)

•Scientific paper entitled: Cultural Ecosystem Services in the Natura 2000 Network: Introducing Proxy Indicators and Conflict Risk in Greece, by Vlami et al. (2021) (February 2021 update)

•Scientific paper preparation entitled: MAES_GR: A web-based, field survey platform for the MAES implementation in Greece (February 2021 update)


  • Scientific paper entitled: The need for the implementation of an Ecosystem Services assessment in Greece: drafting the national agenda, by Dimopoulos et al. (2017). (updated, September 2019).
  • Scientific paper entitled: Ecosystem Service capacity is higher in areas of multiple designation types, by Nikolaidou et al. (2017). (updated, September 2019)
  • Scientific paper entitled: “National scale ecosystem condition assessment with emphasis on forest types in Greece”, by Kokkoris et al. (2018). (updated, September 2019)
  • Scientific paper entitled: A Field Method for Landscape Conservation Surveying: The Landscape Assessment Protocol (LAP), by Vlami et al. (2019). (updated, September 2019
  • Scientific paper entitled: Indicators for mapping and assessment of ecosystem condition and of the ecosystem service habitat maintenance in support of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, by Hatziiordanou et al. (2019). (updated, September 2019)
  • Scientific paper entitled: Integrating MAES implementation into protected area management under climate change: a fine-scale application in Greece, by Kokkoris et al. (2019). (updated, September 2019)MSc Thesis entitled: Wind farms and ecosystem services in Natura 2000 protected areas, by Kotsiras K. (2019). Department of Biology, University of Patras (updated, September 2019)
  • Book Chapter
  • Publication of Book chapter entitled: Diversity of Halophytes and Salt Tolerant Plants at the Species-, Habitats- and High-Rank Syntaxa Level in Greece, by Bazos et al. (2021) (February 2021 update)
  • PhD thesis and MSc theses
  • MSc Thesis entitled: Wind farms and ecosystem services in Natura 2000 protected areas, by Kotsiras K. (2019). Department of Biology, University of Patras (September 2019 update)
  • This work refers to selected mountains in Peloponnese (Mt. Panachaikon) and in the island of Evvia (Mt. Ochi), within the Natura 2000 network, where some of the largest wind farms in the country are operating or are under construction. Main aim of the study is to contribute to Action 5 of Target 2 of the European Biodiversity Strategy, by Mapping and Assessing Ecosystems and their Services (MAES). Using the Natura 2000 datasets and data from environmental studies for the studied wind farms, a matrix of biophysical parameters was created; these parameters were assigned to actual and potential supply of the relevant ecosystem services (following CICES) which were evaluated and mapped at the local-scale. Identification and assessment of wind farms' impact(s) on (a) ecosystem condition, (b) important plant species, (c) important bird species and (d) the trade-offs between the benefits of "green" energy production and ecosystems' condition and their ability to provide ecosystem services. Results on ecosystems' and species' condition, as well as the identification and assessment of ecosystem services are presented in thematic maps. The main conclusion is that the maintenance of a "sound" balance between wind energy production and the conservation of biophysical parameters should act as a main tool for protected areas' sustainable management.

    •PhD Thesis (ongoing): Diversity of species, habitats and ecosystems in the context of the ecosystem services framework at Chelmos-Vouraikos National Park and UNESCO Global Geopark, (S Peloponnisos, Greece): This study deals with local, fine scale mapping and assessment of ecosystems and their services at the National Park and UNESCO Global Geopark of Chelmos-Vouraikos. All available datasets from the study area will be exploited, combined with field survey data for detailed ecosystem type mapping and ecosystem services assessments (supply, demand, capacity). A decision support scheme will be developed to support decision making and conservation policy actions under the holistic MAES framework, as proposed for the EU Member States. (Department of Biology, University of Patras) (February 2021 update)

    This is an online tool for the spatial distribution of plant taxa in the phytogeographical areas of Greece. It provides useful information on spatial patterns and biodiversity hot-spots in Greece. We use this large database of plant taxa for functional trait assignment to each plant taxon, especially the ones of high importance (endemic at different scales-national, regional, local, range-restricted, single-mountain and single-island endemics).

    The project “Floristic Diversity and Ecosystem Services in Greece” is related to the outputs of the Flora of Greece database and is currently in progress. With the aim to investigate the role of biodiversity in the provision and maintenance of multiple ecosystem services, the patterns of floristic diversity in Greece (total taxonomic- and endemic- diversity, exclusive total-, range-restricted- and endemic- diversity per phytogeographical region), as well as of the functional diversity for the exclusive endemics of the Peloponnesian mountains (regional scale) have been examined. Preliminary results include: (I) Assessment and mapping of "hot spot" areas considering a) their plant diversity, b) the quantitative representation of taxon richness in different habitat/ecosystem categories, c) the actual- and the potential- supply of ecosystem services. (II) Correlation of taxonomic indices with supplied ecosystem services per phytogeographical region. The synthesis of the examined diversity indices, their correlation and spatial congruence with ecosystems per phytogeographical region document the importance of each region for ecosystem services supply (actual and potential).

    • In the frame of the LIFE project Natura2000ValueCrete (The ecological services, social benefits and economic value of the Ecosystem Services in Natura 2000 sites in Crete), a workshop under the title:  “Management of the NATURA 2000 sites: New challenges, good practices and consultation with society” was organized recently (8th October 2018) in the island of Crete.

    A presentation by Prof. P. Dimopoulos gave emphasis on “the Ecosystem Services as a tool for sustainable management in the protected areas”. Other participants/invited speakers discussed “the integration of the role of the protected areas in the sustainable development” (Prof. Ifigenia Kagalou). Representatives of the Ministry of the Environment and Energy presented the “framework for the Management Plans of the protected areas” (Melina Koutsogianni), as well as “the role of the Management Bodies to the implementation of Management actions within the protected areas” (Dr. Anastasia Dalaka).

    • Participation as a full partner in the Horizon 2020 Project “Mapping and Assessment for Integrated ecosystem Accounting (MAIA)” (February 2021 update)

    Our contribution refers to ecosystem extent, biodiversity assessment and analyses, to the assessment of freshwater-related services (water quality and provision), as well as on economic valuation methods to fulfil the objectives of the project. This is the first approach to implement MAES -mapping, assessment and valuation- at regional scale in Greece. Stakeholder consultation is held using a questionnaire survey, targeted to key stakeholders. An extensive workshop to exchange information with State authorities, stakeholders and academia, has been conducted before the pandemic restrictions, and by this identified current knowledge, data gaps and policy needs. Current work focuses on ecosystem extent accounts for woodland and forest ecosystems, creation of proxy indicators for nation-wide ecosystem condition accounting based on biodiversity and water resources accounting

     Date: 22/02/2021