Guidance to develop specific protection goals options for environmental risk assessment at EFSA, in relation to biodiversity and ecosystem services

protection goals, environmental risk assessment, plant protection products, genetically modified organisms, feed additives, invasive alien species
First published in the EFSA Journal
17. Juni 2016
21. April 2016


Maintaining a healthy environment and conserving biodiversity are major goals of environmental protection. A challenge is that protection goals outlined in legislation are often too general and broad to be directly applicable for environmental risk assessment (ERA) performed by EFSA. Therefore, they need to be translated into specific protection goals (SPGs). This Guidance presents a framework, which accounts for biodiversity and ecosystem services, to make general protection goals operational for use in all areas of EFSA's ERAs. The approach to follow has three sequential steps: (1) the identification of relevant ecosystem services; (2) the identification of service providing units (SPUs) for these ecosystem services; and (3) the specification of options for the level/parameters of protection of the SPUs using five interrelated dimensions. This last step involves the specification of options for the ecological entity and attribute to protect and the magnitude, temporal scale and spatial scale of the biologically relevant and, in the case of regulated products, tolerable effects, the latter defined in dialogue with risk managers. In order to promote transparency and consistency when developing options for the level/parameters of protection, this guidance provides considerations to justify the selected options.

Panel members at the time of adoption

Diane Benford, Thorhallur Halldorsson, Anthony Hardy, Michael John Jeger, Katrine Helle Knutsen, Simon More, Alicja Mortensen, Hanspeter Naegeli, Hubert Noteborn, Colin Ockleford, Antonia Ricci, Guido Rychen, Josef R. Schlatter, Vittorio Silano, Roland Solecki and Dominique Turck
Scientific Committee
sc.secretariat [at]
EFSA Journal 2016;14(6):4499
Question Number
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