About the Network

Our vision

We are working towards the time when the value of the natural environment for wellbeing and prosperity is harnessed to its full potential. We want to see this happen throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Read more about our positive vision.

Our strategy

Our Strategy for 2018 to 2023 is centred on delivering our mission of equipping people to deliver wellbeing and prosperity through a healthy natural environment. The principles of the ecosystem approach - the primary framework for action in the international Convention on Biological Diversity - drive what we do.

Read more about our forward-thinking strategy.

Our purpose

Our mission is to equip people so that our vision becomes reality. We exist to provide an effective way of sharing know-how, innovation and ideas across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We share insights from other parts of the world too. 

"The Ecosystems Knowledge Network is a vital forum which has benefited us as an organisation but, more importantly, the communities and partners we represent. Whether it is events, workshops or reports EKN ‘plug a gap’. For example, the workshop ‘Tackling childhood obesity in West Yorkshire: the role of nature and the outdoors’ brought national knowledge to our practitioners and communities in the South Pennines." Pam Warhurst CBE, Chair of Pennine Prospects

What we do

We organise events that no one else does to share innovation, ideas and best practice. These range from large conferences to workshops and webinars. Every month we issue a popular e-news with the same objective. 

I joined your Eco-Metric Approach webinar a few weeks ago and found it really excellent – thank you! As someone new to the topic, the webinar was really helpful in explaining the approach and providing relevant context and background. A worthwhile way to spend my lunch break.” Josie Turner, Strategic Planner at the National Grid

We participate in research projects and help researchers translate the findings from their work. We assist our members one to one in making connections and learning from one another.

Our website is a unique and valued resource, sharing project examples, tools and guidance.

Who we benefit

The Network is for everyone, from park rangers to public health specialists and from land valuers to landscape architects. By supporting professionals and volunteers, we work for the benefit of people in all of parts of society. The people we benefit are in two categories:

  • Those involved in organisations with objectives that are sometimes perceived to have little to do with managing the environment as an asset (such as health and economic development).
  • Those who have been involved in matters relating to the natural environment for many years, but want to connect what they do with the multiple benefits that flow from natural features.

Join for free today to become part of the growing network. You'll have a chance to inform what we do and share your knowledge and perspective.

Impact and outcomes

Through our work, our members learn how to manage the environment locally as an asset for all of society. We achieve learning outcomes for our members, so they can do their jobs better. 

We achieve impact through our members as they  initiate new projects and partnerships, create new evidence to inform decisions, and interact with local communities and clients.  Read more about our impact and outcomes.

Governance & Staff

The Network's core staff are based in Oxford.  Four trustees oversee our activities.



Our core services to members are funded through our lead and corporate partners programme, commissioned work and the income from events that we run. We seek charitable, private and public sector funding to fulfill our mission of equipping people to deliver wellbeing and prosperity through a healthy natural environment.  

To explore how you can play a part in supporting the Ecosystems Knowledge Network, visit our corporate partners page or contact the Director, Dr. Bruce Howard on info@ecosystemsknowledge.net.


Between 2011 and 2016, Defra was the principal funder of the Ecosystems Knowledge Network. Scottish Government and the Natural Environment Research Council (via the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Sustainability Programme) made additional contributions.  


The Ecosystems Knowledge Network was launched in January 2012. From 2012 to 2014, the Network was developed as a project administered by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in partnership with the University of Exeter and Countryscape. It now operates as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, registered with the Charities Commission for England and Wales (No. 1159867) and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (No. SC045732).

The Network is commitment number 87 in HM Government's 2011 Natural Environment White Paper for England, Securing the Value of Nature


We were commended in the ENDS Environmental Impact Awards 2017. We won the Best Practice - Knowledge Sharing Award of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management in 2016 and 2021.