The UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-on project, was major piece of interdisciplinary research that aimed at advancing UK capacity to value and manage ecosystem services. The findings were published in July 2014. This followed the first phase of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (UK NEA) which was published in 2011. The UK NEA was the first of its kind in the world. It has already made a contribution in the formulation of environment-related policy around the UK. Birmingham City Council is providing an example of a local response to the national study.
Much of the knowledge contained in the UK National Ecosystem Assessment reports is useful in the application of the ecosystem approach. The ecosystem approach is referred to in the report, especially in the Chapter of the Main Report entitled on 'Response Options'. The 98 Page Synthesis of the Follow-on reports contains a summary of what the knowledge contained in the UK NEA might mean for different sectors of society.
Launch of the Follow-on Reports, 2014
The Follow-on project reports were launched in London on 26th June 2014 at an event entitled Action Stations! Making the most of the ecosystem approach. The event, which involved 130 people from the public, private, academic and third sectors, was hosted by the Living with Environmental Change initiative. The Ecosystems Knowledge Network assisted LWEC by arranging an afternoon workshop to share and discuss experience in implementing an ecosystems approach.
The afternoon session of the launch featured six examples of projects involved in the Ecosystems Knowledge Network that are applying an ecosystems approach in practice within particular land or marine areas across the UK:
- A business perspective on the ecosystem approach, Dylan Bright, South West Water
- Developing the ecosystem approach in the Celtic Seas, Lyndsey Dodds, WWF-UK
- Birmingham Green Living Spaces Plan, Nick Grayson, Birmingham City Council
- Bassenthwaite Ecosystem Services Pilot Project: the ecosystem approach on the ground, Jane Lusardi, Natural England
- National Ecosystem Assessment in practice in the Northern Devon Nature Improvement Area, Lisa Schneidau, Devon Wildlife Trust
- Scottish Borders pilot regional land use framework, Andy Tharme, Scottish Borders Council and Chris Spray, Tweed Forum
The Network website contains details of a range of other projects around the UK that are also applying aspects of an ecosystems approach to the way particular areas of land and sea are managed.
Following presentation and discussion of the six projects above, a panel discussion considered how different sectors (including business, land owners, government and research insititutions) can play their part in practical responses to an ecosystems approach. The panelists were: Charlotte Lay of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), Ian Glover (UK Business Council for Sustainable Development), Steve Spode (Welsh Government) and Steve Albon (James Hutton Institute and Co-Chair of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-on).