December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 1
INTRODUCTION
December 2014
Journal of the Institution
of Environmental Sciences
2 | environmental SCIENTIST | December 2014
INTRODUCTION
Feature 15
The case for a Natural Capital Asset Check
Ian Dickie ...
4 | environmental SCIENTIST | December 2014
INTRODUCTION
December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 5
INTRODUCTION
A
lthoug...
6 | environmental SCIENTIST | December 2014
INTRODUCTION
December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 7
INTRODUCTION
in the U...
8 | environmental SCIENTIST | December 2014
INTRODUCTION
December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 9
CASE STUDYfeature
val...
10 | environmental SCIENTIST | December 2014
CASE STUDYfeature
December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 11
CASE STUDYfeat...
12 | environmental SCIENTIST | December 2014
CASE STUDYfeature
December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 13
CASE STUDYfeat...
14 | environmental SCIENTIST | December 2014 December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 15
CASE STUDYfeature
that support t...
16 | environmental SCIENTIST | December 2014
CASE STUDYfeature
December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 17
CASE STUDYfeat...
18 | environmental SCIENTIST | December 2014
CASE STUDYfeature
December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 19
CASE STUDYfeat...
20 | environmental SCIENTIST | December 2014
CASE STUDY
December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 21
CASE STUDY
Realising ...
22 | environmental SCIENTIST | December 2014
CASE STUDY
December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 23
CASE STUDY
The UK NEA...
24 | environmental SCIENTIST | December 2014
CASE STUDY
December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 25
CASE STUDY
achieve th...
26 | environmental SCIENTIST | December 2014
CASE STUDY
December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 27
CASE STUDY
Coastal an...
28 | environmental SCIENTIST | December 2014
CASE STUDY
December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 29
CASE STUDY
the waves,...
National Ecosystem Assessment Follow on special edition
National Ecosystem Assessment Follow on special edition
National Ecosystem Assessment Follow on special edition
National Ecosystem Assessment Follow on special edition
National Ecosystem Assessment Follow on special edition
National Ecosystem Assessment Follow on special edition
National Ecosystem Assessment Follow on special edition
National Ecosystem Assessment Follow on special edition
National Ecosystem Assessment Follow on special edition
National Ecosystem Assessment Follow on special edition
National Ecosystem Assessment Follow on special edition
National Ecosystem Assessment Follow on special edition
National Ecosystem Assessment Follow on special edition
National Ecosystem Assessment Follow on special edition
National Ecosystem Assessment Follow on special edition
National Ecosystem Assessment Follow on special edition
National Ecosystem Assessment Follow on special edition
National Ecosystem Assessment Follow on special edition
National Ecosystem Assessment Follow on special edition
National Ecosystem Assessment Follow on special edition
of 35

National Ecosystem Assessment Follow on special edition

Built and natural Environment edition looking at applications of research in practice using ecosystem services but guided by the principles of the ecosystem approach.
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Published in: Environment      
Source: www.slideshare.net


Transcripts - National Ecosystem Assessment Follow on special edition

  • 1. December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 1 INTRODUCTION December 2014 Journal of the Institution of Environmental Sciences
  • 2. 2 | environmental SCIENTIST | December 2014 INTRODUCTION Feature 15 The case for a Natural Capital Asset Check Ian Dickie and Sarah Krisht outline a way of improving environmental appraisal and providing better decision-making support. Case Study 26 Coastal and marine ecosystem services Jonathan P. Atkins, Daryl Burdon, Michael Elliott, Marije Schaafsma and Kerry Turner assess the understanding and importance of ecosystem services provided by the sea and the coast. Analysis 38 Taking account of the shared and cultural values of ecosystem services Jasper O. Kenter and Mark S. Reed analyse the impact on land managers, businesses and decision-makers of people's collective and individual values relating to landscapes. Analysis 50 Response options: incorporating the Ecosystem Approach into robust and adaptable decision-making Mark Everard and Iain Brown emphasise the importance of systems thinking. opinion 64 Communicating with plural audiences Mark Everard highlights the importance of finding appropriate ways of spreading the word about the relevance of ecosystems to us all. December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 3 INTRODUCTION 4 Why assess the state of UK ecosystems and trends in the delivery of ecosystem services? Steve Albon discusses the rationale behind the UK National Ecosystem Assessment, and its practical applications. Feature 9 Evolving a conceptual framework to explore the links between human wellbeing and the environment Steve Albon and Kerry Turner outline the tools provided by the UK NEAFO for policy- and decision-makers. Case study 20 Realising the economic value of ecosystems Mark Everard summarises work under the UK NEAFO on the economic value of ecosystems and their services. ANALYSIS 31 Cultural ecosystem services: stretching out the concept Robert Fish and Andrew Church review how the cultural importance of ecosystems can be factored in to decision-making. Feature 44 Scenarios research under the UK NEAFO Roy Haines-Young, Jamie Tratalos, Marion Potschin and Mark Everard outline the way that scenarios help to develop thinking around present and future issues. Feature 56 Mainstreaming ecosystem science into policy and decision-making Alister Scott explains the role and potential of the NEA and the NEAFO in advancing the value of nature and the environment in the context of planning policy and decision-making. The Journal of the Institution of Environmental Sciences Volume 23 No 4 ISSN: 0966 8411 | Established 1971 The environmental Scientist examines major topics within the field of environmental sciences, providing a forum for experts, professionals and stakeholders to discuss key issues. Views expressed in the journal are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect IES views or policy. Published by The Institution of Environmental Sciences 34 Grosvenor Gardens London SW1W 0DH Tel 020 7730 5516 Email info@the-ies.org Web www.the-ies.org Guest Editor Mark Everard Editors Robert Ashcroft Sub Editors Caroline Beattie (beattie.cas@gmail.com) Designer Darren Walker (darrengraphicdesign@gmail.com) Printers Lavenham Press Ltd CONTENTS >There are many reasons why we’re one of the UK’s fastest growing professional bodies. Find out why you should join us. Integrity Equality Equity Quality assurance Responsibility Sound Science Professionalism www.the-ies.org The Institution of Environmental Sciences C M Y CM MY CY CMY K December 2014 Journal of the Institution of Environmental Sciences environmentalSCIENTISTUKNATIONALECOSYSTEMASSESSMENT:WHATNOW?December2014 ies_dec_cover_2014_spread1.indd 1 24/12/2014 11:09 2 | environmental SCIENTIST | December 2014 R ising human resource demands and additional pressures such as waste generation, exacerbated by a spiralling global population and changing climate, are leading to dramatic, systematic declines in the natural world. Various authoritative studies have quantified both the status of and the trends in this ecological decline, while addressing implications for continuing human wellbeing. These studies include the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA)1 , The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)2 and ecological footprint studies that standardise measures of human demand and waste assimilation relative to biologically productive land and sea area, such as the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index (HDI)3 . In 2009, the UK instigated its own National Ecosystem Assessment (UK NEA)4 , publishing a set of reports in 2011 that remain the only such national assessment globally. This led directly to a UK NEA Follow-on programme (UK NEAFO)4 , published in 2014, to address some knowledge gaps but above all to help communicate and spur action informed by the dense content of the first phase. Implicit in both phases of the UK NEA was not only the development but also the transfer of knowledge, particularly to bring into the mainstream both awareness and action to help reverse declining trends in ecosystems and their services as a contribution to resetting development on a more sustainable course. The lack of political and media attention devoted to these ground-breaking studies (representing substantial public investment exceeding £1 million for each phase and very substantialvoluntarycommitmentsoftimebyparticipants) was,ofcourse,profoundlydisappointing.Lefttopoliticians andmediamogulsalone,prospectsforfurtheractionappear slim.Moresignificantly,withoutpracticalandproportionate responses to what we now know, the prognosis for the natural world and for humanity’s continuing security and wellbeing remains equally parlous. This issue of environmental SCIENTIST summarises some of the scope and outcomes of the UK NEA and the UK NEAFO. The overall UK NEA programme has made a promising start, one that is incumbent on all of us now to advance to secure future wellbeing. I hope you find information of interest and use in this special issue, and aboveallthatitinspiresyoutoexploremoreoftheUKNEA process and outputs, and how they can help us all make positive, sustainable change. EDITorIal Cover design by Darren Walker darrengraphicdesign.com A unique resource – the UK NEA Mark Everard is Associate Professor of Ecosystem Services at the University of the West of England (UWE, Bristol) and a Vice-President of the IES. He has championed the evolution and international practice of ecosystem services since the 1980s. Mark is author of numerous papers and books, many on ecosystems and their services, including Common Ground: Sharing Land and Landscapes for Sustainability (Zed Books, 2011), The Hydropolitics of Dams: Engineering or Ecosystems? (Zed Books, 2013) and Breathing Space: The Natural and Unnatural History of Air (Zed Books, forthcoming). (mark.everard@uwe.ac.uk). 1.1. REFERENCES 1. Millennium Ecosystem assessment. Guide to the Millennium assessment reports, www. millenniumassessment.org/en/Index-2.html (accessed: 17 November 2014). 2. The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, www. teebweb.org (accessed: 17 November 2014). 3. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) (2014) Human Development Index (HDI), hdr.undp.org/en/ content/human-development-index-hdi (accessed: 17 November 2014). 4. UK National Ecosystem assessment, uknea.unep-wcmc.org/ Home/tabid/38/Default.aspx (accessed: 17 November 2014). December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 67 oPINIoN processes, better to inform robust and more inclusive and sustainable management outcomes. Communicating to plural audiences remains challenging, but is essential for engaging all in society in more connected decision-making, technological innovation and choice. Communicating is also essential for resource use and management practices that better safeguard and help rebuild natural infrastructure fundamental to longer-term wellbeing. We have to learn to communicate more intuitively and with greater impact about the many ways in which nature confers meaning and value – whether in business, technology, art and music, local and central government, academia, rural communities, retail or as consumers – so that all of society can take appropriate action based on their unique perspectives and essential contributions to achieving a sustainable future. water quality and pollution control), but perhaps less so on the systemic workings of nature from which these focal services arise as integral elements. The central thrust of the transition to decision-makers recognising and incorporating the value of ecosystems and their services is precisely about recognising the ‘submerged’ 90 per cent of this metaphorical iceberg of nature that bears our weight and supports more visible and tangible needs now and into the future. A third analogy on which I have commonly drawn is that ecosystem services are a kind of "Babel fish of nature", borrowing from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy5 . The practical use of this fish was that, when inserted in the ear, a person could instantly understand anything said to them in any language. All analogies are germane to the important mission of communicating with plural audiences using references meaningful to them, and certainly reaching out beyond the relatively narrow technical circles within which the UK NEA and UK NEAFO are currently understood. The third analogy, the role of the ecosystem services framework as a universal translator, is perhaps the most important. ThE BABEl FiSh oF NATURE The origins of contemporary ecosystem services concepts in the late 1980s specifically sought to capture the multiple ways that different people use and value what the natural world does for them. Harmonisation under the UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment6 in the mid-2000s of many pre-existing ecosystem service typologies from across global bioregions and habitat types into a consistent ecosystem services categorisation followed the same objective. This was to reflect multiple benefits and diverse value systems, ranging from those that are more tangible (food, fuel, fresh water and so on) through the more culturally subjective (such as spiritual value, aesthetics, sense of place and community formation) to the underpinning life support services sustaining all others (soil formation, pollination, natural hazard regulation and others). The value and importance of ecosystems can thus become evident to a wider cross-section of people by recognition of and communication around the particular value systems they hold. This diversity of values and value systems in different sectors of society, from local to global scales, is axiomatic in the concept of ecosystem services. We allow it to be subverted by a narrower focus on unitary values, be they monetary or other, at our considerable peril. Developments under the UK NEAFO in expanding on cultural values, and also shared and plural values, make a useful contribution here, as does the focus on practical tools through which decision-makers can elucidate the diversity of societal values through dialogic Mark Everard is associate Professor of Ecosystem Services at the University of the West of England (UWE, Bristol) and a Vice-President of the IES. He has championed the evolution and international practice of ecosystem services since the 1980s. Mark is author of numerous papers and books, many on ecosystems and their services, including Common Ground: Sharing Land and Landscapes for Sustainability (Zed Books, 2011), The Hydropolitics of Dams: Engineering or Ecosystems? (Zed Books, 2013) and Breathing Space: The Natural and Unnatural History of Air (Zed Books, forthcoming). (mark.everard@uwe.ac.uk) 1. REFERENCES 1. UK National Ecosystems assessment, http://uknea. unep-wcmc.org/Home/tabid/38/Default.aspx (accessed: 14 November 2014). 2. UK National Ecosystems assessment (2011) Synthesis of the Key Findings uknea.unep-wcmc.org/resources/tabid/82/ Default.aspx (accessed: 21 November 2014). 3. UK National Ecosystems assessment, (2014) Synthesis of the Key Findings uknea.unep-wcmc.org/resources/tabid/82/ Default.aspx (accessed: 21 November 2014). 4. Convention on Biological Diversity. Ecosystem approach, www.cbd.int/ecosystem/principles.shtml (accessed: 14 November 2014). 5. adams, D. (1979) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Pan Books, london. 6. Millennium Ecosystem assessment (2005) Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Synthesis. www.millenniumassessment. org/en/Synthesis.html (accessed: 21 November 2014).
  • 3. 4 | environmental SCIENTIST | December 2014 INTRODUCTION December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 5 INTRODUCTION A lthough the impact of economic growth on the natural environment has been a concern of environmental scientists and environmental economists for decades1,2,3 , the linkages between our changing natural environment and human wellbeing is only now becoming better understood. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA)4 , published in 2005, was the first global assessment to focus on changes in ecosystems, the impact of these changes on the delivery of ecosystem services (defined as the benefits people obtain from ecosystems, such as crops, fibre, freshwater, recreation, wildlife), and the consequences for people. Given the overwhelming evidence that environmental degradation in most of the world’s ecosystems has depressed many of the ecosystem services upon which human wellbeing depends, the UK House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee recommended that a UK ecosystem assessment be undertaken. Two years later, in 2009, the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (UK NEA), a Living With Environmental Change (LWEC) partnership project between the UK government, the devolved administrations, and research councils, began work. Assessing the state and the value of nature The UK NEA brought together 500 researchers from both natural and social sciences, as well as economics, to assemble the evidence on the state of and trends in UK ecosystems, and the delivery of ecosystem services, since 1945. The objectives also included identifying the drivers of change, exploring the wellbeing value in both monetary and non-monetary terms, encouraging stakeholder engagement, and raising awareness in society of the importance of the natural environment to human wellbeing and economic prosperity. After two years of painstaking work the Synthesis of Key Findings5 and a full Technical Report6 of 1,500 pages, and weighing almost 5 kg (!), were published. The main conclusion of the UK NEA was that the natural world, its biodiversity and its constituent ecosystems  ???? Why assess the state of UK ecosystems and trends in the delivery of ecosystem services? Steve Albon discusses the rationale behind the UK National Ecosystem Assessment, and its practical applications. are critically important to our wellbeing and economic prosperity. Yet they are consistently undervalued in conventional economic analyses and decision-making. The work of the UK NEA influenced the commitments made in the White Paper, The Natural Choice: securing the value of nature7 , the first environment bill in England for nearly 20 years. These commitments included striving to be the “first generation to leave the natural environment of England in a better state than it inherited it”, and establishing an independent Natural Capital Committee to “provide advice on when, where and how natural assets are being used unsustainably”. There was also a commitment to build on the findings of the UK NEA with more research to: i. further our understanding of the economic and social value of nature; ii. develop tools and products to assist decision-makers in applying the lessons of the NEA; and iii. support the inclusion of natural capital in the UK’s National Accounts. The UK NEA Follow-on (UK NEAFO) project reported in June this year8 , and the major findings are described in some detail in the articles of this issue of the environmental SCIENTIST. Here I draw out some of the key messages, first from the original UK NEA (see Box 1), and second from the UK NEAFO (see Box 2). Nature and wellbeing Ecosystems and the services they deliver underpin our very existence. At the most fundamental level, other organisms create a breathable atmosphere and provide us with the food vital to our existence, as well as fibre, timber and a host of other raw materials. Ecosystems are of huge importance in other, less immediately obvious ways: in the breakdown of waste products, in controlling water supplies and in helping to regulate climate. They provide space for recreation and contemplation, and play a pivotal role in creating a sense of place that underpins the mental and spiritual wellbeing of many. Measuring the BOX 1. Key Messages of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (UK NEA5,6 ). • The natural world, its biodiversity and its constituent ecosystems are critically important to our wellbeing and economic prosperity, but are consistently undervalued in conventional economic analyses and decision-making; • Ecosystems and ecosystem services, and the ways people benefit from them, have changed markedly in the past 60 years, driven by changes in society; • The UK’s ecosystems are currently delivering some good-quality services, but others are still in long-term decline; • The UK population will continue to grow, and its demands and expectations continue to evolve. This is likely to increase pressures on ecosystem services in a future where climate change will have an accelerating impact both here and in the world at large; • Actions taken and decisions made now will have consequences far into the future for ecosystems, ecosystem services and human wellbeing. It is important that these consequences are understood, so that we can make the best possible choices, for society now and for future generations; and • A move to sustainable development will require an appropriate mix of regulations, technology, financial investment and education, as well as changes in individual and societal behaviour and the adoption of a more integrated approach to ecosystem management, rather than the conventional sectoral approach. © Aakahunaa
  • 4. 6 | environmental SCIENTIST | December 2014 INTRODUCTION December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 7 INTRODUCTION in the UK continue to decline or have shown little improvement. Expert judgment indicates that, assessed across the broad range of terrestrial and aquatic habitat types, about 30 per cent of services are currently declining and many others are in a reduced or degraded state (see Figure 1). The condition of many soils in the UK – absolutely fundamental to continued productivity and support of biodiversity – is considered degraded, mainly because of atmospheric deposition and inappropriate management. Although there is ongoing recovery of soil-buffering capacity, thanks to large decreases in sulphur deposition since the 1980s, there is continuing loss of soil carbon in arable systems and little or no decline in elevated levels of contaminants from industry and transport. Pollinators,whichprovideecosystemservicesestimated to be worth hundreds of millions of pounds annually, continue to decline. Marine fish catches remain low compared to historical levels and many issues remain regarding the wider ecological impacts of fisheries. And while interest in, and engagement with, the natural world has grown tremendously in some sectors of society, many among the current generation of young people are spending less and less time outdoors, as a result of the use of new technologies, concerns over child safety and the decrease in urban greenspace. The need to manage our ecosystems so that we benefit from the full range of ecosystem services is to become more pressing, not less. A growing population in the UK will help maintain its role as an important trading nation, with significant flows of biomass across its borders, generating a substantial ecological footprint overseas, while simultaneously being affected by social, economic and ecological changes elsewhere. Also, the increasing impacts of climate change, which to date have had relatively little effect on the UK’s biodiversity and ecosystems, mean that the future is likely to bring more challenges. soil quality, declined initially, though some have recovered in the last decade or two. Attempts to address declines in ecosystem services through legislation and policy reform began relatively early on, notably with the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act and the 1956 Clean Air Act, the latter a direct response to the observed impact of air pollution on human health. The 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act was a landmark in recognising the importance of biodiversity in law, several years before the term itself became common currency. More recently, many of the responses within the UK have been driven by European Union policy directives. Present challenges and future outlook Despite improvements, many ecosystem services value of all the benefits society derives from ecosystems has proven hugely challenging, with the consequence that many ecosystem services have been consistently undervalued in economic analyses and decision-making, and some ecosystems become degraded. Changes in ecosystems and the delivery of services in the last 60 years During the second half of the 20th century, the UK’s population grew by about 25 per cent to over 60 million people, living standards greatly increased and technological developments and globalisation had major effects on behaviour and consumption patterns. The production of food from agriculture increased dramatically: wheat yields quadrupled and average milk yields doubled. However, other ecosystem services, particularly those related to air, water and  Figure 1. The relative importance of broad habitats in delivering ecosystem services and the overall direction of change in service flow since 19905 . This figure is based on information synthesised from the habitat and ecosystem service chapters of the UK NEA Technical Report6 , as well as expert opinion. This figure represents a UK-wide overview and will vary nationally, regionally and locally. It will therefore also inevitably include a level of uncertainty. Arrows in circles represent high evidence for or confidence in the direction of service flow amongst experts; arrows in squares represent less evidence for or confidence in the direction of service flow. Blank cells represent services that are not applicable to a particular broad habitat. Responding to the challenges It is clear that we need to find new, more resilient ways of managing our ecosystems. Because of the long recovery times of many ecosystem services (soils, for example, form at an average rate of just one centimetre per century) actions taken and decisions made now will have consequences far into the future for ecosystems, ecosystem services and human wellbeing. It is important that these consequences are understood, so that we can make the best possible choices, for now and for future generations. An important prerequisite for this is a better grasp of the values of the full range of ecosystem services, including cultural values based on ethical, spiritual and aesthetic principles. The values of most ecosystem services are currently omitted from national economic frameworks and local decision-making. Failure to include the valuation of non-market goods in decision-making results in a less efficient resource allocation. Contemporaryeconomictechniquesnowallowustoaccount for most of the market values and some of the non-market values of ecosystem services. In cases where comparisons canbemade,thelatteroften far exceed the former. Furthermore, the collective value of cultural goods linked to ecosystem services needs to be understood through a range of participatory and deliberative techniques,whichusebothquantitativeandqualitative methods in multi-criteria analysis. Since the different wellbeing values of many ecosystem services vary from place to place, integration of the spatial dimension of ecosystem services in local decision-making would increase the potential for a more comprehensive value of these services to be realised. In order to understand what the future might hold, a range of plausible scenarios were developed, some of which emphasise environmental awareness and Box 2. Key Messages of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-on (UK NEAFO8 ) • The UK NEAFO confirms that the ecosystem services derived from natural capital contribute to the economic performance of the nation by supporting economic sectors, regional and national wealth creation and employment; • Building on the UK NEA, the UK NEAFO quantitatively values a number of additional ecosystem services, relating them to changes in land use, as well as marine and coastal ecosystems. The assessment concludes that spatially targeted policies deliver more economically efficient outcomes. It also shows that before decisions are made it is important to fully appraise the widest possible range of policy options that take into consideration our natural capital stocks and flows; • The UK NEAFO makes particular advances in valuing cultural ecosystem services that give rise to a range of material and non-material benefits to human wellbeing, but are frequently overlooked in decision-making; • The UK NEAFO confirms that the six UK NEA scenarios are plausible and useful for different stakeholders. It uses them to explore which policy measures or other interventions are likely to be most effective and resilient in the long term. The UK NEAFO concludes that embedding knowledge of our ecosystems and their services into project, programme and policy appraisals, rarely considered explicitly in government impact appraisals before 2013, is critical for decision-making. This knowledge could provide many wider benefits for society if taken into account at an early stage of policy development; and • The UK NEAFO has developed adaptive management principles to guide inclusion of ecosystem services in policy and decision-making. They illustrate how actions to support and manage our ecosystems can be tailored to, and subsequently amended, in response to new knowledge. Importance of Broad Habitat for delivering the ecosystem service Direction of change in the flow of the service Key: High Medium – High Medium – Low Improving Some deterioration No net change Unknown Some improvement Deterioration Improvement and /or deterioration in different locations Low Service group ProvisioningCuturalRegulating Final ecosystem service Crops Livestock/aquaculture Fish Trees, standing vegetation, peat Water supply Wild species diversity Environmental settings: local places Environmental settings: landscapes/seascapes Climate Hazard Disease and pests Pollination Detoxification& purification Noise Water quality Soil quality Air quality Mountains moorlands & heaths Semi- natural grasslands Enclosed farmland Woodlands Freshwaters – openwaters, Wwetlands & floodplains Urban Coastal margins Marine
  • 5. 8 | environmental SCIENTIST | December 2014 INTRODUCTION December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 9 CASE STUDYfeature values that exist at individual, community or societal levels can be better understood and considered alongside economic analyses in a range of decision-making contexts. • Third,furtherdevelopmentoftheUKNEAscenarios, and the examination of a range of potential societal responses available to decision-makers to adapt and mitigate ecosystem change. • Fourth, the development of a set of practical tools and supporting materials, in partnership with key groups from the public, private and voluntary sectors, to enable end users to make the best use of the evidence. The principal outcomes of the UKNEAFO are described in the following articles. ecological sustainability, while others stress national self-sufficiency or economic growth and the removal of trade barriers. Applying the values derived for ecosystem services to these scenarios shows that a huge range of possible outcomes awaits us. Importantly, allowing decisions to be guided by market prices alone forgoes opportunities for major enhancements in ecosystem services, with negative consequences for social wellbeing. In contrast, recognising the value of all ecosystem services would allow the UK to move towards a more sustainable future, in which the benefits of ecosystem services are better realised and more equitably distributed. A move to more sustainable development will need changes in individual and societal behaviour and the adoption of a more integrated approach to ecosystem management.Thiswillrequireanenablingenvironment of appropriate regulations, technology, financial investment and education, and the involvement of a wide range of different actors, including government, the private sector, voluntary organisations and civil society at large. While there are still uncertainties, knowledge gaps and controversies in our evidence base, we already have enough information to start managing our ecosystems more sustainably. New information/tools to help decision-makers While the UK NEA compiled the evidence to reinforce the view that ecosystems, and the services they deliver, are important to our wellbeing, it provided little insight into how to use the knowledge in decision-making. Indeed we were faced immediately with the question of how to use the NEA. So between the summers of 2011 and 2012 the funding partnership, together with economic, natural and social science researchers, and the wider stakeholder community, set about formulating the remit of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-on (UK NEAFO)8 . The overall aim was to provide deeper insights into approaches to valuation, including cultural values, and tools to help make the ecosystem service framework highly relevant to decision- and policy-making across all sectors and at a range of spatial scales. To help make the information more accessible to a wider range of audiences in the public, private and voluntary sectors, we constructed narratives to communicate what the UK NEAFO means for different users. The UK NEAFO addressed four thematic areas. • First, further development of the UK NEA’s economicanalysistoincreasetherangeofecosystem services valued, develop our understanding of the value of natural capital stocks and changes in flows, and evaluate the macroeconomic implications of the findings of the UK NEA. • Second, exploration of the monetary and non-monetary values associated with cultural ecosystem services. As well as how the many references 1. Pearce, D. W. (1988) Economics, equity and sustainable development. Futures, 20, pp.598–605. 2. Arrow, K., Bolin, B., Costanza, R., Dasgupta, P., Folke, C., Holling, C.S., Jansson, B.-O., Simon, L., Maler, K.-G., Perrings, C., and Pimentel, D. (1995) Economic Growth, Carrying Capacity, and the Environment. Science, 268, pp.520–521. 3. Rockström, J., Steffen, W., Noone, K., Persson, A., Chapin, F.S., Lambin, E.F., Lenton, T.M., Scheffer, M., Folke, C., Schellnhuber, H.J., Nykvist, B., de Wit, C.A., Hughes, T., van der Leeuw, S., Rodhe, H., Sorlin, S., Snyder, P.K., Costanza, R., Svedin, U., Falkenmark, M., Karlberg, L., Corell, R.W., Fabry, V.J., Hansen, J., Walker, B., Liverman, D., Richardson, K., Crutzen, P., and Foley, J.A. (2009) A safe operating space for humanity. Nature, 461, pp.472–475. 4. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Synthesis. www.millenniumassessment.org/ en/Synthesis.html (Accessed: 21 November 2014). 5. UK National Ecosystem Assessment (2011) The UK National Ecosystem Assessment: Synthesis of the Key Findings. UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge. 6. UK National Ecosystem Assessment (2011) UK National Ecosystem Assessment: Technical Report. UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge. 7. HM Government (2011) The Natural Choice: securing the value of nature, CM8082. www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/ uploads/attachment_data/file/228842/8082.pdf. 8. UK National Ecosystem Assessment (2014) UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-on: Synthesis of the Key Findings. UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge, and LWEC, UK. Steve Albon FRSE, is a population ecologist based in Scotland, where he is a Research Fellow at the James Hutton Institute. He co-chaired the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (2009–2011) with Bob Watson, and its Follow-on (2012–2014) with Bob Watson and Kerry Turner. Steve contributed to the development of the initial UK NEA conceptual framework, with Kerry Turner, Georgina Mace, Ian Bateman and others (steve.albon@hutton.ac.uk). Evolving a conceptual framework to explore the links between human wellbeing and the environment Steve Albon and Kerry Turner outline the tools provided by the UK NEAFO for policy- and decision-makers. for example, it recognises the same four categories of ecosystem services (supporting, regulating, provisioning and cultural – see Box 1). However, it also incorporates a number of more recent advances in conceptual thinking. First, to assist in the economic valuation of ecosystem services, the framework focuses on ‘final ecosystem services’ developed to avoid the double-counting of services that are part of a suite of primary processes, including supporting services. Second, since a major objective was a systematic and comprehensive valuation of ecosystem services, the framework concentrates on the good(s) arising from those services that economists can value, but also incorporates flexibility to allow non-monetary valuation of services that cannot be meaningfully assessed in monetary terms. Third, the framework incorporates into the assessment elements that are more specifically relevant to the UK, including the © Patrickwang T he UK National Ecosystem Assessment1,2,3 conceptual framework is structured around the processes that link human societies and their wellbeing with the environment. It explores the drivers of change impacting on ecosystems, and the services (such as crops, water supply, climate regulation, wild species diversity, etc.) that flow from them to deliver a range of goods (such as food, fibre, drinking water, pollution control, recreation, etc.) that we value individually and as a society. Our wellbeing values feedback to influence many of the drivers of change, including demographics, economics, socio-politics and technological advances, as well as environmental change and management practices (see Figure 1). Ecosystem services The UK NEA conceptual framework builds on the one adopted in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment4 :
  • 6. 10 | environmental SCIENTIST | December 2014 CASE STUDYfeature December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 11 CASE STUDYfeature the importance of built, human and social capital in transforming natural capital and the flow of ecosystem services into goods and benefits for people (see Figure 2). Also, this revised framework explicitly shows that other capital (human, social and built) is important in transforming ecosystem services into the goods and benefits that people value, as well as illustrating more of the interactions and feedbacks between the component parts of the ‘whole’ human–environment system. The Ecosystem Approach The current overarching ecosystem services framework produced in the UK NEAFO project is unlikely to help decision-makers without also considering the other principles of the broader Ecosystem Approach6 , which “is a strategy for the integrated management of land, water and living resources to promote conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way”. The 12 principles of the Convention on Biological Diversity's Ecosystem Approach cover aspects of inclusivity, recognise that objectives are a societal choice, and advocate decentralisation of management to the lowest level, as well as maintaining ecosystem services, recognising functional limits, and balancing demands for use and conservation. Furthermore, the UK NEAFO integrated approach is designed to help users make informed choices by they bring to many people, form a distinct kind of cultural ecosystem service. The UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-on (NEAFO) has further developed the ecosystem services conceptual framework to reflect our deepened understanding of the roles of governance and institutions in the decision-making process, and classification of ecosystems based on the Countryside Survey5 broad habitat types (see Box 2). Finally, a slightly different approach was taken to deal with biodiversity, separating out the underpinning natural processes that depend to a greater or lesser degree on biodiversity from landscapes, seascapes, habitats and wild species. These latter elements of biodiversity are part of our natural heritage and, through the pleasure presenting adaptive management principles to guide inclusion of the ecosystem services framework in policy- and decision-making. Adaptive management is about making policies and decisions that allow us to change our responses as our knowledge grows and we learn from our successes and failures. It is a key principle of the Ecosystem Approach. It illustrates how actions to support and manage our ecosystems can be tailored in response to new knowledge. The adaptive management principles are supported by a decision support system toolbox (DSS) providing a coherent set of functional methods and tools that can be used within policy- and decision-making cycles alongside a more comprehensive implementation of the Ecosystem Approach. It provides policy-makers and practitioners with advice on which method or tool is best for a given situation, how and when each method or tool should be used, and which combination of methods and tools might be appropriate. Adaptive Management Principles Adaptive management is a practical way of implementing the Ecosystem Approach where the specific connections between certain human activities and ecosystem services are still uncertain. The adaptive management process starts by defining both the location of the ecosystem in question, the time period over which change might occur and potential Box 1: The four categories of ecosystem services1 Supporting services provide the basic infrastructure of life. They include primary production (the capture of energy from the Sun to produce complex organic compounds), soil formation and the cycling of water and nutrients in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. All other ecosystem services – regulating, provisioning and cultural – ultimately depend on them. Their impacts on human wellbeing are indirect and mostly long-term in nature: the formation of soils, for example, takes place over decades or centuries. Supporting services are strongly interrelated to each other and generally underpinned by a vast array of physical, chemical and biological interactions. Regulating services provided by ecosystems are extremely diverse and include the impacts of pollination and regulation of pests and diseases on provision of ecosystem goods such as food, fuel and fibre. Other regulating services, including climate and hazard regulation, may act as final ecosystem services, or contribute significantly to final ecosystem services, such as the amount and quality of available freshwater. As with supporting services, regulating services are strongly linked to each other and to other kinds of services. Water-quality regulation, for example, is determined primarily by catchment processes and is thereby linked to other regulating services such as control of soil and air quality and climate regulation, as well as to supporting services such as nutrient cycling. Provisioning services are manifested in the goods people obtain from ecosystems, such as food and fibre, fuel in the form of peat, wood or non-woody biomass, and water from rivers, lakes and aquifers. Goods may be provided by heavily managed ecosystems, such as agricultural and aquaculture systems and plantation forests, or by natural or semi-natural ones, for example in the form of capture fisheries and harvest of other wild foods. Supplies of ecosystem goods are invariably dependent on many supporting and regulating services. Provisioning services have historically been a major focus of human activity and are thus closely linked to cultural services. Cultural services are derived from environmental settings (places where humans interact with each other and with nature) that give rise to cultural goods and benefits. In addition to their natural features, such settings are imbued with the outcomes of interactions between societies, cultures, technologies and ecosystems over millennia. They comprise an enormous range of so-called ‘green’ and ‘blue’ spaces, such as gardens, parks, rivers and lakes, the seashore and the wider countryside, including agricultural landscapes and wilderness areas. Such places provide opportunities for outdoor learning and many kinds of recreation. Exposure to them can have benefits that include aesthetic satisfaction, an enhanced sense of spiritual wellbeing and improvements in health and fitness. People’s engagement with environmental settings is dynamic: meanings, values and behaviours change over time in response to economic, technological, social, political and cultural drivers. Change can be rapid and far-reaching in its implications.  Figure 1. The conceptual framework for the UK NEA showing the links between ecosystems, ecosystem services, good(s), valuation, human wellbeing, change processes and scenarios. *Note that the term good(s) includes all use and non-use, material and non-material benefits from ecosystems that have value for people1 .  Figure 2. The updated ecosystem services conceptual framework used for the UK NEAFO showing the roles of governance and institutions in the decision-making process, as well as the functions of built, human and social capital in transforming ecosystem services into goods and benefits for people3 . Drivers of change (direct and indirect) • Demographic, economic, socio-political, technological and behavioural • Management practices • Environmental changes Good(s)* Human Wellbeing • Economic value • Health value • Shared (social) value Social feedbacks, institutional interventions and responses Future scenarios for the UK Governance & institutions & indirect drivers of change (Socio-political, economic, demographic, technological & cultural) Direct drivers of change (habitat conversion, exploitation, climate change, pollution & species introduction) Natural capital Air, land, water, biodiversity Ecosystem services
  • 7. 12 | environmental SCIENTIST | December 2014 CASE STUDYfeature December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 13 CASE STUDYfeature as a means of collating, analysing and presenting data and evidence within the policy process. It is therefore both a process and a tool, and forms one component of an overall decision support system. It offers a different way for analysts to build up, interrogate and present evidence (relating to a project, policy or programme) to stakeholders and decision-makers in a range of contexts (see Figure 3). The approach is made up of three sequential and overlapping steps, which are presented as evidence sheets. Conventional national/strategic policy appraisal relies heavily on standard economic and environmental impact analysis represented by Sheet 1, but our environment, economy and society are all changing at an increasingly rapid rate and in more complex ways. This may mean that a more comprehensive and spatially explicit appraisal process will be required, represented by Sheets 2 and 3. The information in the balance sheet approach progressively encompasses more data and findings depending on the complexity of, and uncertainty around, the policy context under consideration. So Sheet 1 will need to contain evidence drawn from conventional economic and environmental analysis but with added emphasis on equity and fairness. Informationonwhogainsandwholosesinanyproject/ policy decision and what type of compensation, if any, could be paid to losers needs to be highlighted and included. This focus then forms a key link to evidence presented in Sheet 2. i. Establish baseline conditions and trends for ecosystems and their services; ii. Identify key policy issues; iii. Prepare for future changes, for example through the use of scenarios; iv. Create indicators of the state of ecosystems (stock) and changes in the supply of services (flow) over time; v. Enable a scientific, economic and socio-cultural valuation and appraisal of policy options using various tools, including models; vi. Interrogate and present data and analysis using appropriate methods; and vii. Establish good monitoring and review procedures. The toolbox puts into practice the Ecosystem Approach and consists of six categories of assessment techniques used or developed in the UK NEAFO. These techniques include: 1. Scoping; 2. Scenario building; 3. Modelling; 4. Indicator setting; 5. Valuing and 6. Data formatting, selecting approaches and methods, interrogating evidence and presenting findings. TheBalanceSheetApproachtoDecision-Making The UK NEAFO developed the balance sheet approach responses to that change. It is then essential to pull together as much information about this ecosystem and its services as possible. This includes looking at models of key processes that underpin and affect the relevant natural and social capital of the area. It may also be useful to explore alternative future scenarios. The knowledge base this work generates can then be used to set long-term objectives for managing the ecosystem and its services, preferably in partnership with key stakeholders. These objectives may be ‘hard’ (with firmly agreed indicators) or ‘soft’ (pursuing aspirational goals) but must be measurable. Once they are set, the next stage is to plan and implement actions to meet these objectives. This can be done through a series of measures implemented across the entire ecosystem, or via a number of pilot interventions that can be scaled up if successful. Either way, it is crucially important to monitor the outcome of any intervention and to share this information with stakeholders. As the body of knowledge grows in this way, it will be necessary to review the long-term objectives from time to time (without necessarily waiting for them to be achieved) and to develop new measures that are relevant to the updated information. The main risks of adaptive management are: i. Setting objectives that do not prioritise the maintenance of natural capital, and therefore result in goods and services being degraded – this is called a ‘slipping baseline’; ii. Not investing sufficiently in the monitoring needed to assess progress; iii. Failing to communicate both successful and unsuccessful interventions; and iv. Producing objectives that are vulnerable to manipulation if the process, goals and outcomes are notsharedwithstakeholdersinadeliberativeprocess. Decision Support System Tools The DSS toolbox developed in the UK NEAFO is a set of assessment techniques that can be used in the decision-making process to: Box 2. The UK’s Broad Habitats Ecosystems vary widely because of differences in the interaction of biological, chemical and physical factors at anyone location. In practice ecosystems are usually defined by the scope of the function, process or issue being studied. For the purposes of the UK NEA, broad habitat types based on those from the Countryside Survey were used for classifying ecosystems. The eight different broad habitats are described briefly below. Mountains, moorlands and heaths cover 18 per cent of the UK land area. Lowland heaths are highly fragmented, while mountains and upland moors and heaths provide the largest consolidated semi-natural habitats in the UK. Mountains, moorlands and heaths are the source of around 70 per cent of the UK’s drinking water, hold an estimated 40 per cent of UK soil carbon, and include some of the country’s most iconic landscapes. Semi-natural grasslands once covered a large proportion of the UK’s land area, largely the result of low-intensity traditional farming. The extent of semi-natural grasslands is now extremely reduced, with high-diversity grasslands comprising a mere 2 per cent of UK grassland (≥1 per cent of total land area). Semi-natural grasslands are highly valued culturally – the South Downs, dominated by chalk down-land, receives around 40 million visitor days a year. Enclosed farmland is the most extensive form of land use in the UK, accounting for around 40 per cent of land area, and producing around 70 per cent of the UK’s food. Most is managed for cereal, cattle and sheep production. Half the area of enclosed farmland is arable land, mostly in eastern England. Almost all the rest is nutrient-enriched grassland, mostly in wetter, western parts of the UK. As well as playing a crucial role in provisioning services, enclosed farmland is also of great cultural significance and is a major determinant of landscape in much of lowland UK. Woodlands include managed plantations as well as ancient semi-natural woodlands. Woodlands cover 12 per cent of the UK’s land area, making the country one of the least wooded in Europe. At least 80 per cent is less than 100 years old and just 5 per cent is classified as ancient woodland. Much planting in the past century has been of coniferous trees (often non-native). Only in England is woodland dominated by broadleaved species. Much of the woodland estate is managed as a source of timber, but woodlands are increasingly valued for their delivery of other ecosystem services, particularly recreation and carbon storage. Freshwaters include lakes, rivers, wetlands and floodplains. In the UK there are more than 389,000 kilometres of rivers, 200,000 hectares of permanent lakes and nearly half a million small ponds. There are also estimated to be at least 390,000 hectares of fen, reedbed, lowland raised bog and grazing marsh and nearly 1 million hectares of floodplain. Freshwater habitats are a major source of water for a wide range of uses and are important for recreation, including angling, boating and other water sports, and in hazard (notably flood) regulation. Urban areas in the UK cover just under 7 per cent of land area. They are home to eight out of 10 people, often living at extremely high population densities. Greenspace is very limited in extent, and access to it is unequally distributed. It thus assumes disproportionate cultural significance. Urban areas depend very largely on other habitat types for provision of most of their ecosystem services. Coastal margins, comprising sand dunes, machair, saltmarsh, shingle, sea cliffs and coastal lagoons, cover just 0.6 per cent of the UK’s land area. Culturally, coastal margins are of immense significance. There are over 250 million visits per year to the UK coast, of which around one third are to natural habitats. These areas are also important in coastal defences, sediment transport and as nursery grounds for fish. Marine habitats in the UK cover more than three and a half times the land area. They are highly variable, comprising a very wide range of sub-habitats. Inshore marine habitats are of great cultural importance, offering many opportunities for tourism and recreation. Offshore habitats support fisheries and provide a wide range of other ecosystem services, such as avoidance of climate stress and waste breakdown and detoxification.  Figure 3. The balance sheet approach showing the progression of information used (strategic analysis through to negotiation and trade-off analysis) as the environmental context becomes more complex and dynamic3 . • Cost–benefit analysis • Environmental impact analysis • Natural Capital Asset Check and other scoping tools • Green national income accounts • Equity and fairness: distributional effects and actual compensation • Local policy impacts and economic multipliers • NEAT Tree tools and analysis • Compensation measures • Multi–criteria analysis • Recognition of ethical rules and fairness • Shared values arrived at through group discussions
  • 8. 14 | environmental SCIENTIST | December 2014 December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 15 CASE STUDYfeature that support the decision-making process. As such, it has the potential to improve the quality of policy- and decision-making processes. In addition, the NEAT tree identifies opportunities for decision-makers to develop their own indicators for addressing the 12 principles of the Ecosystem Approach at the beginning of any project, programme or policy. Central to the NEAT tree is the need to improve stakeholder engagement by increasing clarity in our own definitions and procedures, and by recognising the terms and language that those stakeholders commonly use. The NEAT tree identifies both generic and distinctive stakeholder-specific ‘hooks’ to engage those involved in business, community development, the built environment and the natural environment. Sheet 2 should contain the results of collecting and drilling down into the information on the spatial and socio-economic characteristics of winners and losers down to regional and local scales and the implications for different policy contexts. A novel feature of this section of the evidence should be an up-front review of feasible compensation measures for the losers, rather than ad hoc responses to stakeholder reactions and political pressure after a decision has been announced. Using this sheet to interrogate regional and local project/policy impacts may reveal not just competing users for an ecosystem service(s) but contesting groups with profoundly different moral/ethical positions, attitudes to risk and cultural heritages. This will make the formulation of any overarching policy or delivery plan more difficult. Sheet 3’s collected evidence should therefore specifically address these more contested policy context issues. It willbedrawnfromthefindingsofmulti-criteriaanalysis methods and group-based deliberative methods which encourage discussion and debate (arbitration) among relevant participants. This may or may not lead to a consensus about appropriate actions. Engaging with wider audiences through NEAT The UK NEAFO provides advice for a range of audiences on how to consider all 12 principles of the Ecosystem Approach within each stage of a typical decision-making cycle: ideas → survey → assess → plan → deliver → evaluate. The National Ecosystem Approach Toolkit (NEAT tree)7 links the implementation of the 12 principles within projects, programmes and policies with tools Steve Albon FRSE, is a population ecologist based in Scotland, where he is a Research Fellow at the James Hutton Institute. He co-chaired the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (2009–2011) with Bob Watson, and its Follow-on (2012–2014) with Bob Watson and Kerry Turner. Steve contributed to the development of the initial UK NEA conceptual framework, with Kerry Turner, Georgina Mace, Ian Bateman and others. Kerry Turner DSc CBE, is Professorial Fellow in the School of Environmental Sciences, UEA, Norwich. He specialises in Environmental/Ecological Economics and Management and was a contributor to and Co-Chair of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow On Programme. Kerry contributed to the development of the initial UK NEA conceptual framework, with Steve Albon, Georgina Mace, Ian Bateman and others. Kerry was responsible for much of the thinking behind the component parts of the wider Ecosystem Approach in the UK NEAFO, including the Decision Support System toolbox. He was awarded the CBE for services to sustainable development in 2000. REFERENCES 1. UK National Ecosystem Assessment (2011) The UK National Ecosystem Assessment: Synthesis of the Key Findings. UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge. 2. UK National Ecosystem Assessment (2011) UK National Ecosystem Assessment: Technical Report. UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge. 3. UK National Ecosystem Assessment (2014) UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-on: Synthesis of the Key Findings. UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge, and LWEC, UK. 4. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Synthesis. Island Press, Washington, DC. 5. Countryside Survey (2007) UK Results from 2007. www. countrysidesurvey.org.uk/outputs/uk-results-2007 (Accessed: 28 November 2014. 6. Convention on Biological Diversity. Ecosystem Approach. www. cbd.int/ecosystem (Accessed: 23 November 2014). 7. National Ecosystem Approach Toolkit: (NEAT). neat. ecosystemsknowledge.net (Accessed: 28 November 2014). The case for a Natural Capital Asset Check Ian Dickie and Sarah Krisht outline a way of improving environmental appraisal and providing better decision-making support. Box 1: Technical definition of natural capital Natural capital is a configuration of natural resources and ecological processes that contributes, through its existence and/or in some combination, to human welfare. • ‘natural resources’ refer to the biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) components of nature that can contribute to human welfare; • ‘ecological processes’ refer to the characteristics that maintain an ecosystem; • ‘through its existence’ recognises the benefits people attribute to the continued existence of the natural environment, its wildlife, landscapes, etc.; • ‘some combination’ reflects the interaction between the living and non-living components of the environment, but also the combination of natural assets with other forms of capital in a way that makes these assets productive; and • ‘human welfare’ refers to the benefit or value that accrues to people.  Figure 4. Wetlands are a threatened habitat type which provide numerous important ecosystem services. (© Susan Robinson) © Catherine Mansfield W hat do a fish and a bee have in common? What connects them? You may think "nothing" at first, and then realise that actually the answer might be quite complex. They have many similarities and differences but, to an economist, one thing they have in common is not that complicated to understand: fish and bees are components of “natural capital”, a term that represents a way of thinking about elements of the natural environment. Natural capital has been defined as those elements of nature that either directly provide benefits or underpin human well-being1,2 . This highlights the fact that natural capital generates value for people. A more technical definition is proposed by
  • 9. 16 | environmental SCIENTIST | December 2014 CASE STUDYfeature December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 17 CASE STUDYfeature the UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-on (UK NEAFO) which includes how natural capital generates value for people (see Box 1). The Natural Capital Asset Check Natural capital was the subject of a Work Package Report3 of the UK NEAFO. The report used the technical definition in Box 1 to examine how to improve economic appraisal and give better support to decision-making by incorporating the characteristics of natural capital. To do this, a Natural Capital Asset Check (NCAC) tool was developed which built on a previous scoping study4 . The Natural Capital Asset Check tool addresses these questions through five steps, which are summarised in Figure 1. Thebasicapproachofthistoolistoaddressthefollowing questions for a particular natural capital asset: 1. How much of the natural capital asset do we currently have? (Extent) 2. What does the natural capital asset produce? (Productivity) 3. How do our decisions affect the extent and productivity of natural capital over time? (Trend)  Figure 1. Steps in a Natural Capital Asset Check3 .  Figure 2. Thresholds and the Natural Capital Asset Check3 . Particular importance is placed on trend because, in this respect, the Natural Capital Asset Check considers thresholds and/or trade-offs in the relationships between natural capital assets and the goods and services they produce. A threshold can be defined as a discontinuity whereby a small change in a pressure or driver can lead to a large change in the integrity (i.e. the extent and condition) of a natural capital asset with consequences for the benefits it provides2 . A threshold is a property of a system that can be ecological/biophysical or socio-economic, and as such they are distinguished from targets, which are socially determined objectives. The goods and services produced by natural capital assets are key contributors to society’s wellbeing, but may be compromised if natural capital assets approach a threshold (signalled by a ‘red flag’). For other key contributions to our wellbeing, like economic activity, we check the condition of the underlying assets that support it. For example, educational qualifications, research and development (R&D) and spending and business investment data inform us about trends in the underlying condition of the built and human capital that support economic activity. A Natural Capital Asset Check aims to provide similar information about the underlying condition of the natural environment including whether a particular asset is approaching a threshold; information that, currently, decision-makers often lack. Identifying thresholds Knowing that data on exactly where thresholds lie is rarely available, an asset check helps to make use of the best data available. For instance, observations of different examples of natural capital management can provide data on systems that are above and below thresholds such as healthy versus collapsed fish stocks. The consequences of crossing thresholds depend on: • Environmental factors, such as the speed of asset recovery; and • Economic factors, including the value of goods and services produced from the natural capital asset and the availability of substitutes. The approach to processing information about thresholds within a Natural Capital Asset Check is reflected in Figure 2. Thresholds are approached as the integrity (i.e. the condition and extent) of natural capital declines as illustrated by line F, which shows a simplified linear relationship. Each step of the Natural Capital Asset Check outlined in Figure 1 is mirrored in Figure 2. Step (1) defines the natural capital asset based on the goods and services it produces, applying the definition of natural capital; Step (2) considers the integrity of the natural capital defined by its extent and condition; Step (3) considers how the integrity of the natural capital influences the goods and services it produces, including whether there are thresholds in this relationship and the consequences of crossing them; Step (4) considers available data on where thresholds lie (i.e. point A in Figure 2). This data is rarely available to inform decision-making, but observations of different examples of natural capital management (e.g. points B, B*, Bi or Bii ) can provide data on systems that are above and below different types of thresholds; and Step (5) combines preceding data to consider whether natural capital is being managed in a way that poses riskstosociety(e.g.throughrisksofcrossingthresholds with significant consequences). This highlights a challenge for ecologists: to understand thresholds and, in particular, to be able to detect the earliest warning signs that thresholds are being approached, i.e. ‘red flags’. This is highlighted in Figure 2 by the increasing density of red shading as the threshold is approached. ANaturalCapitalAssetCheckforlakesandreservoirs The design of the Natural Capital Asset Check tool was tested through its application to nine case studies relating to fish stocks, bees and other pollinators and many other things in between, which capture a range of different elements of natural capital at various scales. Integrity of Natural Capital Asset ProductivityofNaturalCapitalAsset Past the thresholds... ...ability to restore capital becomes compromised. -- Loss of goods and services. -- Cost of loss to society depends on substitutes & human population affected. A. Data on point of collapsea (rarely available). B. Data on integrity of capital above/below threshold. Ecological threshold F + + - -
  • 10. 18 | environmental SCIENTIST | December 2014 CASE STUDYfeature December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 19 CASE STUDYfeature capital is still limited in many areas. However, the UK NEAFO’s asset check case studies show examples of where declines in integrity of capital (e.g. fish stocks and their spawning habitat) can be linked to its productivity (e.g. fish landings). This evidence helps decision-makers work towards a definition of unsustainable use and supports better management of our natural capital. For example, a Natural Capital Asset Check was carried out for lakes and reservoirs involving data at a national or river basin district scale as well as some individual site examples. This asset check case study provides a good example of the existence of different thresholds. A major challenge in managing lakes and reservoirs is nutrient enrichment, and there are different thresholds in relation to the provision of different services. • Certain species are adapted to low-nutrient conditions, and nutrient enrichment can damage the biodiversity conservation value of freshwater lakes in the UK. These thresholds can be defined through conservation targets in UK Biodiversity Action Plans. Once a threshold is passed, the capacity of systems to recover may be impaired; • The recreational use of lakes is impaired by nutrient enrichment that causes algal blooms. There are at least two thresholds when the recreational ecosystem services derived from a lake have a non-linear response to the increase in nutrient levels: ○○ First, algal blooms can limit biological diversity and reduce recreational users’ enjoyment of a lake. Once a bloom has occurred, the damage to other species in the system may take a significant period of time to recover after nutrient levels have receded to pre-bloom levels; and ○○ Second, some algal blooms can give rise to humanhealthrisks,endingtheuseofthelakefor water-contact recreation activities and possibly all water-edge activities (e.g. dog-walking). This example illustrates how various datasets are requiredinundertakingaNaturalCapitalAssetCheck. However, the asset check can function with different environmental data, which are rarely complete. Key data gaps can help refine research questions. Wider applications A Natural Capital Asset Check can be applied to different elements of natural capital, including particular ecosystem services (e.g. pollination), habitats (e.g. seagrass beds), or assets (e.g. soils), or a subset of the ecosystem services from a habitat (e.g. recreational services from urban green space). It can also be applied at different scales: nationally, regionally or locally. However, its application to very diverse and/or larger scale (i.e. national) natural capital assets will be complex and data-intensive, and may therefore only be feasible as part of detailed policy reviews. Asset checks that focus on a specific ecosystem service (e.g. pollination) appear to work better, but such a narrow focus risks ignoring trade-offs between services. These trade-offs should at least be noted, even if not quantified. An asset check summarises evidence on the underlying condition of the natural capital assets that will support valuable future ecosystem services. Examples of applying the Natural Capital Asset Check provide evidence on how this thinking can help future environmental management, including understanding natural capital, managing its performance and supporting long-term planning. The analysis in a Natural Capital Asset Check can provide important contextual information to help scope the development of national environmental accounts. First, a Natural Capital Asset Check helps to identify the various parameters (such as the properties of the asset, the services that it produces, and relevant metrics) that can guide the structure of ecosystem accounts. Second, a Natural Capital Asset Check differs from the marginal valuation of ecosystem services by emphasising the ecological properties and characteristics of natural capital assets that give rise to these services in the first place. This provides a practical mechanism that can aid ongoing efforts to construct environmental accounts linked to national accounting concepts of income and productivity, as well as balance sheets. While extensive data on ecosystems and their services have been compiled over time, our understanding of the productive relationships that define natural Ian Dickie is a Director at eftec (Economics for the Environment Consultancy). He manages projects related to habitat banking and biodiversity finance, the economics of marine conservation and forestry as well as wildlife trade and invasive species issues. He is also a member of Sustainability Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accounts of England and Wales (ICAEW). (ian@eftec.co.uk) Sarah Krisht is a Researcher at eftec. She works on projects related to natural capital valuation and national ecosystem accounting, the economics of marine conservation and of bathing water quality improvements, as well as the use of economic analysis in the regulation of chemicals. (sarah@eftec.co.uk) references 1. Natural Capital Committee (2013) The state of natural capital: Towards a framework for measurement and valuation. nebula. wsimg.com/98477bcfe12c006dea627d9a6c339023?AccessKe yId=68F83A8E994328D64D3D&disposition=0&alloworigin=1 (Accessed: 22 November 2014) 2. Natural Capital Committee (2014) The state of natural capital: Restoring our natural assets. nebula.wsimg.com/b34b945ccada11 d4e11a23441245d600?AccessKeyId=68F83A8E994328D64D3D&dis position=0&alloworigin=1 (Accessed: 22 November 2014) 3. Dickie, I., Cryle, P., and Maskell, L. (2014) UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-on. Work Package Report 1: Developing the evidence base for a Natural Capital Asset Check: What characteristics should we understand in order to improve environmental appraisal and natural income accounts? UNEP-WCMC, LWEC, UK. uknea.unep-wcmc.org/LinkClick.aspx ?fileticket=ALFqJld0K8o%3d&tabid=82 (Accessed: 22 November 2014). 4. eftec, Haines-Young, R., Atkinson, G., and Hails, R. (2012) Scoping Study to Develop Understanding of a Natural Capital Asset Check. Report to Defra.  Figure 3. Fishing trawler in the North Sea. One of the NEAFO asset check case studies focused on fish stocks, and highlighted how declines in the integrity of natural capital (e.g. spawning grounds and fish stocks) can lead to declines in productivity (e.g. fish landings). (© Tasstock.)
  • 11. 20 | environmental SCIENTIST | December 2014 CASE STUDY December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 21 CASE STUDY Realising the economic value of ecosystems Mark Everard summarises work under the UK NEAFO on the economic value of ecosystems and their services. “our historic tendency to ‘trade’ marginal elements of climate resilience and other essential yet finite services for financial growth is, we are learning, occurring at significant, rising and non-linear cost. Finding a pathway of economic growth that progressively reduces erosion of critical ecosystems and their services is therefore an absolute priority” G etting a robust grip on the economic implications ofchangesinecosystems,theservicestheysupply and how they can be more sustainably managed was a key and significant theme under the UK NEAFO. Two Work Packages addressed economic implications, the Macroeconomic implications of ecosystem service change and management: A scoping study1 and the Economic value of ecosystem services2 . Some key points emerging from each of these research reports are summarised below. Macroeconomic implications of ecosystem service change and management Governments are increasingly concerned about the condition of the natural environment and the use of natural resources, as this determines the sustainability of economic development and social progress. This UK NEAFO scoping review was aimed at guiding research priorities for understanding the effects of ecosystem service change and management in the UK on the macroeconomic performance of key sectors and the UK economy as a whole. Under the 2011 UK NEA, a general conceptual framework was developed to link ecosystem services with human well-being in the UK (as explained earlier in the issue by Steve Albon and Kerry Turner). Macroeconomics is concerned with measuring the condition and performance of the economy of a country at the national scale and within its regions and key sectors. However, macroeconomic models typically fail to consider the likely impacts of changes in ecosystem services on economic performance. To examine the relative importance of natural capital to the macroeconomy, it is crucial to understand the degree to which it can be substituted by the other forms of capital in the production of final goods. However, substitution between natural capital and other forms of capital is not always feasible, or at least sustainable. For example, no amount of money can ultimately compensate for the loss of photosynthetic primary production and oxygen generation, nor for collapse of the global climate system. As a consequence, our historic tendency to ‘trade’ marginal elements of climate resilience and other essential yet finite services for financial growth is, we are learning, occurring at significant, rising and non-linear cost. Finding a pathway of economic growth that progressively reduces erosion of critical ecosystems and their services is therefore an absolute priority.  Figure 1. Red Tarn in the Lake District, England. The uplands are important for many crucial, but often overlooked, supporting and regulating ecosystem services which must be incorporated into economic valuations of ecosystems used by policy-makers. (© Zbynek Jirousek) © Vladimir Wrangel
  • 12. 22 | environmental SCIENTIST | December 2014 CASE STUDY December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 23 CASE STUDY The UK NEAFO research strand on the macroeconomic implications of ecosystems and their services included an expert consultation to assess the feasibility of mapping ‘final’ ecosystem services (those services that are most directly used by society) onto individual economic sectors, and hence the macroeconomy as a whole. Although it was possible to identify and describe these interactions in broad terms, currently available data and knowledge are insufficient to quantify and value comprehensively and confidently the flows of ecosystem services between and within the major economic sectors of the economy and the consequences for macroeconomic performance. The role of modelling Various models were assessed for their suitability for incorporating greater consideration of the contribution of ecosystem services, and of changes in those services, to the macroeconomy. Those addressed in this research included: computable general equilibrium (CGE) models,dynamicstochasticgeneralequilibrium(DSGE) models, econometric input–output models, and the systems dynamics approach. Each modelling method uses different economic theories and assumptions, and each also has its own particular limitations. Further assessment of the potential for integration of ecosystem services and related valuation methods into these models is required. Significantly, this needs to include many  Figure 2. The location of tree planting matters in terms of the overall set of benefits and costs associated with carbon storage, amenity and public enjoyment, water flow and multiple other ecosystem services. (© Mark Everard) services that are not directly exploited in the economy, such asthenaturalformationofsoilorthecyclingofnutrientsand atmosphericgasesthatformessentialunderpinningsformore directly exploited services, including those deriving from agriculture and forestry. These often formerly economically invisible services include, in particular, supporting services and many regulatory services, the degradation of which can havesubstantialandfar-reachingeconomicconsequences. Key findings from this economics research Work Package include increasing appreciation of the importance of the interactions between ecosystem services and the macroeconomy, and of the consequences of changes in ecosystem services for indicators of macroeconomic performance. Mapping interrelationships between ecosystem services and major sectors of the economy, such as agriculture or the manufacturing of food, is an important first step towards understanding the macroeconomic impacts of changes in ecosystem services at sectoral, regional and whole economy levels. No existing macroeconomic modelling method is adequate for dealing with the complex interactions between ecosystems and the macroeconomy, so further work is required to extend these models. Further research priorities include development and testing of suitable frameworks and methods for ecosystem–macroeconomy assessments, starting initially with selected key ecosystem services and economic sectors. Economic value of ecosystem services Atitsmostfundamental,thisUKNEAFOWorkPackage addressed the deceptively simple question: “What is the best use of land?”. The answer to that question is, of course, complex, and needs to address the finite nature of the natural world and limited opportunities. Optimising the societal benefits of land use also requires appraisal of a far broader set of consequences, or in other words accounting for a broader suite of ecosystem services, than has formerly been the case. This includes consideration of the distribution of benefits and costs within and across society. CasestudiesaddressedundertheUKNEAFOWorkPackage sought, where possible, to be synergistic with established government decision-making frameworks, integrating the co nsequences for a range of ecosystem services and their associated values into modelling methods. A range of case studies were addressed in the full Work Package report. A case study considering a policy context in which each country within Great Britain decides to plant 5,000 hectares of new woodland per year from 2014 to 2063 (yielding 750,000 hectares) is summarised here, highlighting the benefit of this broader way of assessing outcomes and steering policy decisions. The case study modelled the relative benefits and implementation costs incurred under contrasting ‘market value’ and ‘social value’ policies. The costs and benefits of afforestation The ‘market value’-driven forest planting policy scenario considered the situation if government were to seek to minimise the financial costs of meeting its afforestation targets, without considering the wider social benefits that planting trees might generate. Since forestry is invariably less profitable than the agriculture it displaces, this policy requires subsidies to be paid from the public purse to landowners in order to encourage them to plant trees. The ‘best value’ market-driven policy would seek to minimise thesizeofthesesubsidiesafterallowingforthevalueofany market priced goods (here timber) generated by the policy. Under this scenario, therefore, the distribution of forest planting is skewed towards the agricultually less “for decisions to be both robust and efficient, they should avoid pre-determined options, instead taking account of the characteristics and corresponding values of the real world”
  • 13. 24 | environmental SCIENTIST | December 2014 CASE STUDY December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 25 CASE STUDY achieve this by progressing our capacity to address the implications of ecosystem services, and changes in those services, for the macroeconomy, through the development of some helpful models and operationally relevant case studies. However, making the broader societal transition towards bringing the value of nature into the mainstream of policy and practice depends on concerted political will and priority, and the grasping of initiatives and opportunities by other sectors of society. Key findings emerging from the Economic value of ecosystem services Work Package were that, for decisions to be both robust and efficient, they should avoid pre-determined options, instead taking account of the characteristics and corresponding values of the real world, to determine the optimal use of scarce resources. Decisions also need to take into account all of the major drivers of, and impacts from, the changes they are considering, as assessed over a broader suite of ecosystem services. This may include assessment using economic values for those services that are amenable to this approach, but also determining means to factor less directly or readily quantifiable benefits into decision-making processes. Working with, rather than in ignorance of, the natural environment also allows decision-makers to see how alternative implementation strategies for policies can significantly enhance net societal value for money. Acting upon the economic value of ecosystems As articulated in the executive summary of the government’s Natural Environment White Paper, The Natural Choice4 , “Nature is sometimes taken for granted and undervalued”, “This is why we must properly value the economic and social benefits of a healthy natural environment whilst continuing to recognise nature’s intrinsic value” and “We will mainstream the value of nature across our society…”. Converting these broad aspirations into policy and practice clearly requires the development of workable principles, tools and case studies. These economic strands of UK NEAFO research provide significant steps towards achieving this transposition. They productive uplands. However, uplands are important for many wider (see figure1), generally overlooked services such as water storage and purification, carbon storage, and habitats for wildlife. Though annual implementation costsarerelativelylow(£79million),thereisanetnegative return on investment (£65 million) when consequences for these overlooked services are considered. By contrast, modelling of the ‘social value’-driven policy scenario addressed a wide range of social benefits in the locationofforestplanting,includingbothmarket-priced goods (such as timber production and displacement of agriculture) and selected non-marketed goods (such as greenhouse gas emissions and storage, and recreation). The need to pay subsidies is recognised, but policy emphasis shifts to obtaining the best social returns on investment in natural capital. Forest planting under the ‘social value’-based policy scenario redistributes forest planting nearer to urban centres, closer to where people have access to the multiple benefits they provide (see Figure 2). Annual implementation costs are relatively higher (£231 million), but there is a net positive return on investment (£546 million). Further details of the distribution of afforestation under the ‘market-value’ and ‘social value’ policy scenarios are published in the UK NEAFO Synthesis of the Key Findings3 . Comparison of likely outcomes under these two scenarios reveals that, when the wider benefits provided by the natural environment are brought into decision-making, taking account of benefits across policy areas, rather different outcomes may ensue. These tend to optimise public value and avert unintended negative outcomes across policy areas. © Pétrouche Dr Mark Everard is Associate Professor of Ecosystem Services at the University of the West of England (UWE, Bristol) and a Vice-President of the IES. He has championed the evolution and international practice of ecosystem services since the 1980s. Mark is author of numerous papers and books, many on ecosystems and their services, including Common Ground: Sharing Land and Landscapes for Sustainability (Zed Books, 2011), The Hydropolitics of Dams: Engineering or Ecosystems? (Zed Books, 2013) and Breathing Space: The Natural and Unnatural History of Air (Zed Books, forthcoming). (mark.everard@uwe.ac.uk) REFERENCES 1. Anger, A., Shmelev, S., Morris, J., Zenghelis, D., and Di Maria, C. (2014) UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-on. Work Package Report 2: Macroeconomic implications of ecosystem service change and management: A scoping study. UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge, and LWEC, UK. uknea.unep-wcmc.org/LinkClick.aspx ?fileticket=9K8WF9F6W4A%3d&tabid=82. 2. Bateman, I., Day, B., Agarwala, M., Bacon, P., Baďura, T., Binner, A., De-Gol, A., Ditchburn, B., Dugdale, S., Emmett, B., Ferrini, S., Fezzi, C., Harwood, A., Hillier, J., Hiscock, K., Hulme, M., Jackson, B., Lovett, A., Mackie, E., Matthews, R., Sen, A., Siriwardena, G., Smith, P., Snowdon, P., Sünnenberg, G., Vetter, S., and Vinjili, S. (2014) UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-on. Work Package Report 3: Economic value of ecosystem services. UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge, LWEC, UK, uknea.unep-wcmc.org/ LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=1n4oolhlksY%3d&tabid=82. 3. UK National Ecosystem Assessment (2014) UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-on: Synthesis of the Key Findings. uknea.unep-wcmc.org/resources/tabid/82/default.aspx (Accessed: 28 November 2014). 4. HM Government (2011) The Natural Choice: securing the value of nature. www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-natural-choice- securing-the-value-of-nature (Accessed: 28 November 2014). Institution of Environmental Sciences A membership organisation for environmental scientists Whether you are looking for recent graduates, Chartered Scientists, Chartered Environmentalists or something more specific, an advert placed with the IES will be seen by a guaranteed target audience of highly qualified environmental professionals with strong scientific understanding. For expert environmental employment look to IES jobs info@the-ies.org +44 (0)20 7730 5516 www.the-ies.org
  • 14. 26 | environmental SCIENTIST | December 2014 CASE STUDY December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 27 CASE STUDY Coastal and marine ecosystem services Jonathan P. Atkins, Daryl Burdon, Michael Elliott, Marije Schaafsma and Kerry Turner assess the understanding and importance of ecosystem services provided by the sea and the coast.  Figure 1. Small fishing and pleasure boats moored in Barmouth Bay, Wales. (© Deniskelly)  Figure 2. Natural and social sciences: integrating concepts.18 M any countries and the European Union have declaredthattheirseasshouldbeclean,healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse1 . The UK NEAFO describes a set of strategic-level principles and practical tools to help achieve this lofty aim and inform the sustainable management of coastal and marine ecosystem services. This is important, as coastal and marine habitats vary spatially and temporally and are influenced greatly by human activities and pressures. There are dynamic and complex interactions between coastal and marine habitats and the adjacent catchment and open sea. Despite that, we have a less-than-perfect understanding of coastal and marine ecosystem functioning, the reactions to pressures and the contributions to human welfare. Nevertheless, following the findings of the UK NEAFO Work Package Report 4: Coastal and marine ecosystem services: principles and practice2 , here we give the concepts integrating natural and social sciences related to coastal and marine ecosystems, and the ecosystem services that they provide. We also comment on their valuation in coastal policy practice in the UK and elsewhere. The information presented here is further discussed in Turner and Schaafsma (forthcoming), which discusses UK coastal ecosystem services from science to values and decision-making3 . COASTAL AND MARINE ECOSYSTEMS: STRUCTURE, FUNCTIONING AND THREATS Marine ecosystems form as the net result of structural elements or components manifest as a series of key rate processes and inter-relationships that constitute ecosystem functioning and that encompass both the living and non-living components4,5 . Natural and human-derived change is then superimposed on these environmental and biological attributes (see Table 1). The natural functioning of the marine system then constitutes the upper part of the conceptual model presented here (see Figure 2 and Box 1). The coastal zone and marine ecosystems are subject to dynamic environmental change that occurs both ways across the land–ocean boundary and their essential functioning depends on the connectivity with the catchment and the open ocean6 . They are subject to many pressures and hazards including climate change, ocean acidification, coastal erosion and flooding, sea-level rise, siltation, eutrophication overfishing and expansion of the built environment7 . Globally, all coastal zone natural capital assets have suffered significant loss over the last three decades (e.g. 50 per cent of fresh and saltwater marshes, 35 per cent of mangroves and 30 per cent of reefs lost or degraded)8 . COASTAL AND MARINE ECOSYSTEM SERVICES As long as the natural system has an appropriate structure and is functioning properly, it provides a set of ecosystem services (see Figure 2). For example Box 1: Underlying assumptions or explanation for the conceptual model • The physico-chemical system sets up the framework to support/develop the ecological system but the latter then influences the physico-chemical system (feedback loop); • Functioning relates to rate processes and thus flows, whereas structure relates to a commodity at a given time; • The environmental system and (natural) capital is the product of the physico-chemical (natural) capital and the ecological (natural) capital; ‘capital’ in this case includes both structure and function; • Ecological functioning is created by and in turn creates ecological structure; • Ecological natural capital requires valuing by ecological valuation (which includes rarity, fragility, resilience, vigour, etc.) – c.f. economic valuation; • Ecological stocks are a subset of ecological structure but are created by and in turn create ecological functioning; • In economic and ecological terms, societal benefits are taken from the stocks without adversely reducing the stocks; • Achieving benefits from services by society requires expenditure of human capital and complementary assets (skills/energy/money/time); • The natural system can have ecosystem services in its own right not linked to societal benefits; • ‘Intermediate’ ecosystem services follow from ‘fundamental/basic’ ecosystem processes as an economic rather than an ecological construct; • ‘Carrying capacity’ is the ability of the natural or human system to hold/support the indicated attributes; • The natural and socio-economic systems provide the carrying capacity that then supports the natural and socio-economic capital; • The arrows should be read as something ‘leading to’ or ‘producing’ the subsequent box, and double arrows denote feedback loops; • ‘Goods’ relate to an entity (c.f. structure) whereas ‘services’ relate to the processes producing that entity; • Human capital is taken to include skills/education/ knowledge, entities and the ability to use them; • The values concept needs to include four aspects: anthropocentric instrumental value; anthropocentric intrinsic value; non-anthropocentric instrumental value; non-anthropocentric intrinsic value; • By definition ‘anthropocentric’ means that it can often but not always be given a monetary value whereas ‘non-anthropocentric’ is not assigned a monetary value but rather carries with it ethical properties; and • Whereas the physico-chemical and ecological systems relate to Good (Chemical or Ecological) Status under the Water Framework Directive, the physico-chemical, ecological and human systems relate to Good Environmental Status under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
  • 15. 28 | environmental SCIENTIST | December 2014 CASE STUDY December 2014 | environmental SCIENTIST | 29 CASE STUDY the waves, tides, sediments and water characteristics create the right conditions in which the prey of fish thrive and in turn support those fish. These ecosystem servicesprovidearangeofbenefitsthatleadtoahealthy and prosperous society (e.g. food and employment for fishermen) and so the term ‘services’ are the means of providing endpoints that are of interest as benefits to society9 . The basic ecosystem structure and processes combine to produce intermediate services and final services that can lead to goods (benefits) that are consumed by humans, or which are essential for human welfare8 . Figure 2 further indicates the contentious topic of whether only ecological aspects can deliver ecosystem services (denoted (A)) or whether ecosystem services can be derived from the physico-chemical system on its own (e.g. seabed aggregates for building materials, denoted as (B)). Irrespective of this, in order to derive benefits and goods from the ecosystem services requires built, human and social capital as the complementary assets in which energy, equipment, skills and effort. In other words, the marine system can produce fish but we have to learn how to catch and prepare it for food. While there are several ways of defining ecosystem services, it has been suggested that ecosystem processes (a service that comes from other factors than the ecosystem itself) and ecosystem functions (the result of ecosystem process) lead to a generic classification based around intermediate services associated with indirect benefits, and final services associated with direct benefits10 . This approach avoids any potential for double counting benefits, where there is competition and/or complementarities between ecosystem services, which is particularly important when it comes to scientific, analytical, monetary or other evaluation. There are considerable effects of those hazards causing risk to the coastal and marine ecosystem services and societal economic benefits (value), but these have yet to be properly recognised and more precisely quantified and evaluated2 . The ecosystem service classification system should be linked to policy and management and therefore different interpretations may be needed depending on the context10 . The most widely recognised framework is that of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, which identifies four categories of ecosystem service: • Provisioning services (e.g. food and raw materials); • Regulatingservices(e.g.gasandclimateregulation); • Cultural services (e.g. leisure and recreation); and • Supporting services (e.g. nutrient cycling)8 . The UK NEA focused on the processes that link human society and wellbeing to the natural environment, and amongst other things, on the key role ecosystems play in delivering a diverse set of services that directly and indirectly underpin economic progress and human wellbeing. This distinguishes between processes, intermediate services, final services and goods and their benefits and was modified for the marine environment under the NERC-funded Valuing Nature Network Coastal Management project and workshops within the UK NEAFO project2 . Coastal ecosystem natural capital stocks (the ecosystem structure and processes and links to the abiotic environment) are biologically highly productive and diverse (with many habitats and species), with a consequent flow of ecosystem services (the outcomes from the functioning of ecosystems) of significant value (in terms of benefits) to society. VALUATION OF COASTAL/MARINE ECOSYSTEM SERVICES Ecosystem service indicators are required to determine the health of the marine ecosystem, its change due to the marine hazards, and its value to society. These reflect the marine state and/or performance, the natural capital stocks and the flow of ecosystem services of significant value (in terms of benefits) to human society. Hence indicators need to be specific not only to ecosystem services but also relate to the components and processes and goods/benefits. Therefore, since marine ecosystem services potentially provide societal benefits, it is appropriate to consider their value, giving increasing use by stakeholders. This is recognised by the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy, which emphasises the need "to value ecosystem services and to integrate these values into accounting systems as a basis for more sustainable policies". Both the EU Water Framework Directive and Marine Strategy Framework Directive also explicitly require economic valuation to be a central part of marine environmental management11,12,13,14 . For some marine ecosystem services, market prices may reflect their value (e.g. fish landed for human consumption), but for others a market price either does not exist or is inadequate (e.g. spiritual and cultural wellbeing such as an appreciation of a beautiful seascape or the knowledge that blue whales exist). As discussed above, it is not appropriate to value basic marine processes and intermediate services without identifying explicitly the associated final ecosystem services and goods/benefits that have human welfare implications2 . There are many methods of economically valuing ecosystem services and societal benefits such as contingent valuation, cost-of-illness, damage avoidance costs, market costs, travel costs and costs of carbon equivalence15 . Many of the techniques are categorised as non-market valuation approaches as they do not rely on market prices; such methods are for some people controversial but are gradually gaining wider acceptance and are advocated for official policy evaluation16,17 . CONCLUSION Hence the monetary valuation of stocks and flows in particular is complex and has to rely on a range of accounting and socio-economic approaches, together with an underlying natural science understanding. Some services will not be amenable to monetary valuation, and the use of coastal resources and their conservation is often highly contested, involving a range of different stakeholders. Coastal areas are also socio-cultural entities, with specific historical conditions and symbolic significance and therefore the values expressed for such cultural entities may well manifest themselves through social groups, communities and even nations.  Figure 3. Market prices cannot be used as a proxy to establish the value of some ecosystem services, such as the spiritual or aesthetic appreciation of a beautiful seascape, such as this view from St Brides, Pembrokeshire. (© Mark Everard). “the use of coastal resources and their conservation is often highly contested, involving a range of different stakeholders”  Table 1. Marine processes and inter-relationships Processes Meaning Examples ‘Environment–biology’ The physico-chemical system (e.g. salinity, temperature, sediment, geology, hydrography, etc.) creates the fundamental niches for colonisation by organisms. Reduced water currents will allow the development of muddy substrata which will be colonised by deposit-feeding organisms; biogeographic regimes and physico-chemical oceanographic processes and gradients will thus create the conditions likely to be colonised by organisms. ‘Biology–biology’ The resultant community is modified by biological processes and interactions such as predator–prey relationships, competition, and recruitment processes such as propagule supply and settlement. The mud-dwelling invertebrates then compete with each other for space but also provide food for wading birds and fish. ‘Biology–environment’ The biology may influence the physico- chemical system and the import and export of materials into and out of the system. Benthic invertebrates bioturbate and alter the sedimentary regime, leading to chemical changes; oxygen demand is created by a large number of organisms occurring together. ‘Environment–environment’ One or more elements of the physico- chemical system impact upon other elements of the physico-chemical system. Changes in the hydrographic regime (e.g. currents, tides, etc.) result in changes to the sediment structure on the seabed.

Related Documents