Summary of research
The ecosystem service agenda is fast becoming a central tenet in environmental policy. Chapter 8 of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (UKNEA), with Forest Research authorship, outlines the many ways in which forests and wooded landscapes provide ecosystem services to society, and this programme will maintain close links to conduct further work on the UKNEA.
This research proposal will develop a greater understanding about how and where ecosystem services are provided, starting by gathering all the information available into one place. The programme is aligned to the aspirations of the Living With Environmental Change (LWEC) resources challenge, focussing on the synergies and trade-offs in ecosystem service provision associated with integrated land-use planning and land-use change. A key focus is the development of critically-assessed spatially-explicit indicators to allow policymakers, forest managers and planners to map and understand the how the placement of woodland patches affects ecosystem service delivery. Some of these indicators already exist, and it is likely others will need to be developed. The programme will help identify where trees and forests provide the greatest benefit, where synergies and trade-offs exist between different services, and where land use or management change could increase benefit. Different future development scenarios will therefore have different projected impacts on ecosystem services and we will conclude the program by synthesising all the information we have found with a range of future scenarios.
A key role of this program is to coordinate and bring together methods to undertake spatial analytical methods from a wide range of disciplines. Objectives will be achieved through the continued development of a strong and cutting edge spatial analytical team, complemented by close interdisciplinary research collaboration within FR and from other research institutes, many of them international. We aspire to developing appropriate and robust methods for assessing, evaluating and valuing ecosystem services provided by forests and wooded landscapes.