Funded by Defra, the Ecosystem Services research project was launched in September 2006 | New - Review paper on Ecosystem Services in the English Context now available in 'reports & publications'...  
 
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Countryside Quality Counts - Tracking change in the character of the English landscape, 1999-2003 has just been launched in London.
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Ecosystem Services
Results from the Defra funded research project NR107 to establish the basis for an ecosystems approach and how it may be used to make effective assessments of the benefits that the natural environment provides

This project was part of a Defra research programme to investigate the practicalities of translating the ecosystems concept into a usable tool. This project (NR0107) helped establish and agree what an ecosystems approach involves and how it can be used to make assessments of the benefits that ecosystems provide to society at the national, regional and local scales. See Defra's web site for more information: www.defra.gov.uk/environment/policy/natural-environ/

Lowland Heathland © D. Tantram/Terra

Government policies for protecting the natural environment are not sufficiently integrated to provide a sustainable future. If we are to achieve sustainable patterns of economic and social development a different approach to policy development and implementation for environmental goods and services needs to be adopted. The United Nations 'Millennium Ecosystem Assessment', not only recognised the multiple benefits that ecological systems provide but also highlighted that policy and planning decisions must take into account an ecosystems approach (EA) to be truly sustainable.

We considered how the approach could be used to assist and enhance decision-making at different scales. Adoption and implementation of the approach by Government policy makers and decision-makers like local planning authorities will ultimately protect and enhance the natural environment ensuring it can continue to provide the benefits and services that society needs.

Developing knowledge

This project builds on the achievements of Phase I of Defra's Natural Environment Programme, which suggested that the links between concepts such as environmental limits and thresholds, ecosystem health and ecosystem goods and services are sufficiently well developed to enable detailed analysis of the issues based on empirical data. The Phase I work also emphasised that while the evidence-base could be developed further, there was sufficient information available to make such an undertaking feasible. Phase I also identified that improvements to the institutional arrangements to deliver and monitor the activities and measure are also required. This project will take all of these ideas and concepts.

 
Adas Centre for Environmental Management Centre for Ecology & Hydrology Ormi consulting University of Reading, department of Geography Terra Consult University of York
 
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