The UK’s first National Ecosystem Assessment is launched

This first analysis of the benefits the UK’s natural environment (including woodlands) provides to society and our continuing prosperity

News from Forest Research: July 2011

Covers of the NEA report, the Natural Environment White Paper and Forest Research’s Benefits of Green Infrastructure Report

Earlier this month, the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (NEA) was released.

The assessment centres on a description of the UK’s ecosystem services, their benefits for people and the economy, and the broad habitats from which they are derived.  It also values the contribution of ecosystem services to human well-being, and identifies options for policy responses to secure the health and resilience of the UK’s ecosystems and the continued delivery of the services provided by them. One of the key findings is that the natural environment is consistently undervalued in conventional economic analyses.

Working in partnership with others, Forest Research scientists have led a chapter on woodlands (chapter 8) and have contributed to the economic and non-economic valuation of woodlands (chapter 22). The assessment provides clear evidence of the value of woodlands in delivering multiple benefits, for example the provision of timber, the regulation of greenhouse gases through carbon sequestration and the provision of cultural services. It also highlighted how the forest sector can and does support multiple services through sustainable forest management.

The NEA project builds on the findings of the pioneering global Millennium Ecosystem Assessment carried out in 2005, and has been highly influential in underpinning the new Natural Environment White Paper for England: ‘The Natural Choice’.  Forest Research’s report on the ‘Benefits of Green Infrastructure’ was also cited as evidence in the White Paper.

The NEA report

The Natural Environment White Paper

Forest Research’s Benefits of Green Infrastructure Report

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This and other news stories can be found in the Summer 2011 issue of FR News, our online newsletter.