About the Network

Our vision

We are working towards the time when the natural environment throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is managed in ways that contribute to wellbeing and prosperity for everyone. Read more about the positive and realistic vision we have.

Our purpose

Our mission is to equip people so that our vision becomes reality. We exist to provide an effective way of sharing knowledge 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 run this website, organise events that no one else does and issue a popular e-news.  We use these to:

  • provide case studies of how the environment is playing a positive role in society
  • provide resources for understanding and valuing what the environment does for society
  • engage groups of people and sectors whose primary interest is not the environment
  • help different groups of people connect and collaborate

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 receive our monthly e-news and advance invitations to events. 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.  Five trustees oversee our activities.



Our core services to members are funded through our lead and corporate partners programme and modest fees for events that we run. We seek charitable, private and public sector funding for our unique work.  To discuss how you can play a part in supporting the 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.  Our work was commended in the ENDS Impact Awards 2017.