The evaluation of Ecosystem Services production: an application in the Province of Ferrara

Parthena Chatzinikolaou, Davide Viaggi, Meri Raggi


This paper presents an evaluation of the provision of Ecosystem Services (ES). The analysis is based on the design of a framework suitable to be translated into a multi-criteria evaluation process, followed by empirical testing. It focuses on the different categories of ES and applies a set of non-overlapping indicators available from existing statistical sources. The framework is applied in a traditional cultural landscape, the Province of Ferrara, situated in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. To develop an applicable framework, we have chosen a set of ES indicators from the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. According to the results and based on the indicators used in each category, the provision of cultural and provisioning services is high in all of the municipalities, while  there is greater diversity in the provision of regulating and supporting services. A key challenge in our analysis was related to the lack of information on the actual provision of ES at the municipality level, which led to a significant use of proxy indicators. Use of improved datasets, explicit consideration of policy scenarios and accounting for local priorities about ES provision have been identified as the most relevant avenues for future research in this area.


Ecosystem Services; evaluation; indicators; multi-criteria analysis; classification

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