Programme Goals


The BESS programme had the following goals:

  1. To define how biodiversity within landscapes underpins the delivery of different ecosystem services at a range of scales and across gradients.
  2. To establish whether there are critical levels of biodiversity required to deliver different kinds of services under different driver‐pressure scenarios, as well as enhance the resilience of ecosystems to those different drivers.
  3. To develop novel tools and indicators appropriate for tracking and measuring biodiversity and ecosystem services under those different scenarios.


These goals were developed by the UK Biodiversity community and various NERC initiatives since 2007, with input from two substantive workshops in December 2008 attended by a full cross-section of the biodiversity research and policy community. Whilst clearly central to NERC's Biodiversity Theme, BESS also had significant linkages with the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources (SUNR) theme, the broader LWEC ambitions, and with NERC contemporary actions that resonate with BESS, particularly Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation (ESPA), Macronutrient Cycles,Marine Ecosystems, the Environmental Virtual Observatory pilot, Insect Pollinator Initiative and the Valuing Nature Network, as well as dimensions of the Global Food Security programme.

BESS was contemporary with both phases of the National Ecosystem Assessment (NEA) and especially complemented the second phase of that initiative. Much of the science of BESS was relevant to other national initiatives, such as the work of the UK's Natural Capital Committee and broader international initiatives such as Future Earth and the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).


Key BESS documents


BESS Science Plan


BESS Implementation Plan



These pages contain the archive of the NERC Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Sustainability (BESS) programme