Society has been seeking ways to express biodiversity's value to stimulate its protection. Economic valuation of ecosystem services has had limited success to motivate biodiversity protection and reaching the EU 2020 biodiversity strategy targets is in danger of failure. The expression of biodiversity's value in policy documents thus becomes a topic of discussion, because it greatly influences the ways policy makers think about environmental problems. We present an analysis of the word use related to biodiversity conservation versus ecosystem services in the environment themes of the FP7 and Horizon 2020 research work programs of the European Commission in the period of 2007-2014, and the projects accepted under these themes. We conclude first that biodiversity was lost as a topic in the transition from FP7 to Horizon 2020, accompanied by a three-quarters loss of biodiversity topics in the projects accepted under these research work programs. Moreover, the use of 'ecosystem services' was 1.5 times higher at the end of that period compared to the beginning in the research work programs, to the detriment of the use of 'sustainability' and 'conservation' which halved during that same period. In the light of international commitments to biodiversity conservation, the focus toward ecosystem services and away from conservation is of great concern. (C) 2015 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.