The Spanish National Ecosystem Assessment (SNEA) is the first national-level analysis of the ability of ecosystems and biodiversity to maintain human well-being in Spain. It aims to provide stakeholders, the scientific community and civil society with interdisciplinary information on the relationship between ecosystem condition and human wellbeing. It follows the approach set out in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, including the driver-pressure-state-impact-response framework for analysing complex relations between ecosystems and human systems.

SNEA began in 2009, with the biophysical assessment being completed in 2012, followed by a new phase from 2013 which aimed to estimate the impact ecosystem services have in economic, as well as ecological, terms.

Lessons learnt: 
The SNEA helped support policy development on biodiversity and ecosystem services in Spain by 1) establishing monitoring indicators of the main drivers of change in ecosystems; 2) Promoting coordinated projects to connect research and the development of policies for biodiversity conservation. 3) Promoting studies addressing the economic valuation of biodiversity and conducting systematic reviews and analyses of available studies in Spain. 4) Creating lists of, and mapping, ecosystem services in Spain. 5) Improving mechanisms for communication with society related to biodiversity. 6) Promoting the consideration of biodiversity and ecosystem services, including their economic value, in the design of the policies of the General State Administration. 7) Developing environmental indicators related to human wellbeing in addition to the gross domestic product for incorporation into social and political debates. Additionally, the SNEA directly informed Spanish and European law and policy by: providing information for the implementation of the Law on Natural Heritage and Biodiversity 42/2007 and the Law for Sustainable Rural Development 45/2007; providing socio-ecological information on specific habitat types to establish Special Areas of Conservation under Natura 2000; and providing information for the development of the Water Framework Directive of the EU.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment requested the Spanish Ecosystem Assessment (SNEA) project, with a mandate to facilitate the interface between scientific knowledge in different disciplines and decision making. This project has been promoted and funded through the Biodiversity Foundation.

Peer review: 

A national and international scientific advisory committee for the project has been put in place to ensure the robustness of the results. This unit has developed a research process that is being carried out by a large team of scientists and experts from both the biophysical and social sciences and draws on several lines of inquiry.

Sub/region covered: 
Contact details
Contact Name: 
Prof Santos Martin; Prof Benaya del Álamo; Prof Carlos Montes del Olmo.
UN languages in which the assessment is available: