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UK National Ecosystem Assessment progress and products. Robert Bradburne Defra. March 11 th 2010. Summary. (English) context for the National Ecosystem Assessment Structure and objectives of the National Ecosystem Assessment Progress and outputs to date Challenges ahead

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UK National Ecosystem Assessment

progress and products

Robert Bradburne


March 11th 2010

  • (English) context for the National Ecosystem Assessment
  • Structure and objectives of the National Ecosystem Assessment
  • Progress and outputs to date
  • Challenges ahead
  • Preparing for the outputs
paving the way for the nea the public service agreement on the natural environment
Paving the way for the NEA: The Public Service Agreement on the Natural Environment

PSA28: Secure a healthy natural environment for today and the future

  • This means:
  • Air free from harmful levels of pollutants
  • Sustainable water use
  • Land and soils managed sustainably
  • Biodiversity valued, safeguarded and enhanced
  • Clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas
  • People enjoying the natural environment


  • “To secure a diverse, healthy and resilient natural environment, which provides the basis for everyone’s well-being, health and prosperity now and in the future; and where the value of the services provided by the natural environment is reflected in decision-making”
taking an ecosystems approach to policy and decision making
Taking an ecosystems approach to policy and decision making
  • Healthy ecosystems maintained and enhanced
  • Sustainable flows of ecosystem services
  • Balanced use of natural resources
  • A more strategic, integrated approach to the natural environment
  • Valuing the full range of benefits that the natural environment provides
  • Ensuring environmental limits are respected
  • Adaptive management to respond to changing pressures,
  • Decisions taken at appropriate spatial scales
  • Identifying and involving all relevant stakeholders

The UK National Ecosystem Assessment (UK NEA) is the first analysis of the UK’s natural environment in terms of the benefits it provides to society and our continuing prosperity.

Part of the Living With Environmental Change (LWEC) initiative, it is an inclusive process involving individuals and institutions with a wide range of perspectives, in Government, academia, NGOs and the private sector.


Why Undertake the NEA now?

Evidence of change

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) reported on widespread change to ecosystems worldwide in the last fifty years, with increases in benefits to many people, but degradation of ecosystem services adversely affecting others.

Natural England reported in 2008 that England has less natural diversity than 50 years ago and that it is still under pressure.

Pressures on our natural environment are changing – climate change and other pressures are predicted to alter many aspects of our land, water and seas over the next fifty years.


What will the NEA do?

“The UK NEA will help people to make better decisions that impact on the UK’s ecosystems to ensure the long-term sustainable delivery of ecosystem services for the benefit of current and future populations in the UK”

New solutions and new stakeholders

The NEA will:

Produce an independent and peer-reviewed National Ecosystem Assessment for the whole of the UK.

Raise awareness of the importance of the natural environment to human well-being and economic prosperity

Ensure full stakeholder participation and encourage different stakeholders and communities to interact and, in particular, to foster better inter-disciplinary co-operation between natural and social scientists, as well as economists


People involved in the NEA

A diverse group of academics, consisting of natural scientists, economists and social scientists, form the 27-member Expert Panel. This is chaired by Professor Robert Watson and Professor Steve Albon

A wide range of public, private and third sector decision-makers and

stakeholders form a User Group

200 authors from more than 50 academic institutions, government agencies and NGOs, managed by a group of Co-ordinating Lead Authors.

The organisations that commissioned the UK NEA form the Client Group.

Co-ordinating all the different assessment activities is an independent Secretariat, providedby the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC).


NEA timeline

  • Release of progress and plans for 2010 – 22 February 2010
  • Full external review of the chapters on ecosystems and ecosystem services - 4 May – 15 June 2010
  • Finalisation of ecosystem and ecosystem services assessment – end September 2010
  • Valuation, scenarios and response options work completed – September 2010
  • External review – September/October 2010
  • Release of findings – February 2011

Ecosystem services

  • Supporting services
    • soil formation
    • nutrient cycling
    • water cycling
    • primary production
  • Provisioning services
    • food
    • fibre
    • fuel
    • bio-materials
    • water
  • Regulating services
    • climate
    • hazard control (flood/erosion)
    • pests & disease
    • pollination
    • pollution (noise/toxic)
    • air/soil/water quality
  • Cultural services
    • aesthetic
    • cultural heritage/ sense of place
    • education
    • health
    • recreation
    • spiritual/religious
    • tourism



Biodiversity in the NEA

  • Biodiversity is considered in the NEA through its roles of:
  • Supporting ecosystem processes: biodiversity may play a role in the dynamics of ecosystem services, e.g., in nutrient cycling or rates of decomposition
  • Providing genes and species: some species and the genetic variability within them contribute directly to valuable goods, e.g., the use of genetic diversity in wild crop and livestock relatives contributing to breeding programmes, and this increase in genetic diversity can increase resistance to the spread of disease
  • Its value to people: people gain direct personal benefits from the appreciation of wildlife and scenic places and biodiversity also has further spiritual, religious and education value



Challenges for 2010

The NEA is now looking forwards to assess how ecosystems might change in future.

Challenges include:

Producing relevant, internally consistent and quantifiable scenarios with which to assess possible change to ecosystem services in future

Incorporating both economic and non-economic forms of value into the assessment of ecosystem change

Developing a suite of societal response options in light of the future scenarios


NEA weblinks

Further information (including how to get involved) can be found at:

Recent outputs and other communications materials can be found at:

preparing others for the outputs of the nea
Preparing others for the outputs of the NEA

Helping others to understand

The natural environment narrative

“Recovery, Growth and the Environment”

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity

“Delivering a healthy natural environment”

Other “points of view” articles

preparing others for the outputs of the nea1
Preparing others for the outputs of the NEA

Working out what you should consider

Identifying priorities

Case studies and examples of application

Environmental Limits resources

Building the evidence/monitoring base

preparing others for the outputs of the nea2
Preparing others for the outputs of the NEA

Valuing the environment

Introductory Guide to the Valuation of ecosystem services

Value Transfer guidelines

Data sources – the EVRI database

Incorporating valuation into other appraisal tools

Participatory and Deliberative Techniques


Thank you