Resources and processes provided by the natural environment and used to benefit human existence are known collectively as ‘ecosystem services’.
These can include for example: energy, food, water, biodiversity, resources for aggregates or building stones and visual or recreational amenity. As demand for these ‘services’ increases, the impact on the natural environment intensifies and needs to be regulated to ensure sustainable use, preservation or restoration.
The BGS Ecosystem Services Modelling project will create an ecosystem services model for Great Britain. Initially, in a pilot study of the Thames region, the project will seek to prove the validity of developing a new map of standardised terrestrial ecosystems for the UK at a multi-scale resolution from 1 km – 50 metres.
Research will be in collaboration with Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH). It will include the generation of datasets to show bioclimate regions, classification of the abiotic environment, ecosystem labelling, and an ecosystems footprint.
The project integrates climatic, terrestrial and ecological models. This will support research of vital ecosystem services and contribute to the developing UK National Ecosystem Assessment. Additional research could also contribute to biodiversity conservation, climate change impact studies, and resource management, as well as aid policy makers, particularly those working to fulfil UK Government's objectives outlined in Defra's Sustainable Development Strategy.
The BGS ecosystem services model is in the initial pilot study stages.
Contact Emma Bee for more information about the Ecosystem Services Modelling project or datasets.