Land Use and Ecosystem Services (LUES)


The research aims to increase our understanding of how woodlands and wooded landscapes provide a diverse range of ecosystem services (ES), and to help policymakers, forest managers and planners understand and assess how the specific placement and management of woodlands affects ES delivery at various scales. Ecosystem services include the goods and services from the ecosystems in nature that provide improved well-being and livelihoods.

Research objectives

Our work is focussed around:

  • What are the key ecosystem services provided by forests and wooded landscapes, and how should they be measured? (Work Area 1) Which methods are appropriate, and what are the limitations and benefits of such measures/indicators of ecosystem services for use in different types of landscapes? (Work Area 1)
  • How do ‘current’ changes in UK forests and wooded landscapes affect the flow of ecosystem services (Work Area 2)
  • How could ‘future’ change in UK forests and wooded landscapes affect the flow of ecosystem services? (Work Area 3)
  • What can we learn from applying these measures/indicators to different situations and various spatial/temporal scales? (Work Area 4-7)

Results so far

  • Literature review of ecosystem services provided by trees, woodlands and forests
  • Stakeholder workshops to identify priorities for ES research
  • Development of spatial indicators for timber, carbon, biodiversity, recreation, flood mitigation and water quality 


The programme started in 2011 and ran until 2015. The next phase of work began in 2015.


Duncan Ray
Research Programme Manager

This work is funded by the Forestry Commission

Forest Research is a founding member of Ecosystem Service Community Scotland (ESCom), a collaboration on ecosystem services research. The aim of ESCOM is to align our collective research so we can draw on each other's expertise and better develop collaborative research across different land-uses, and with other research providers.