Knowledge exchange, engagement and synthesis were all important forms of impact. Translating the research findings into new knowledge and understanding of the linkages between biodiversity and ecosystem services was key to the success of the BESS programme.


Much of the material from the BESS research work has been synthesised under the following headings:

Cultural ecosystem services
Food security
Mapping and modelling ecosystem services
Reducing flood risk
Supporting pollinators and pollination

Health and well-being


Each of the main research groups engaged in their own knowledge exchange and impact activities which are detailed on their websites. The BESS Directorate had a broader responsibility in this area, described in the Engagement Strategy and Engagement Implementation Plan.


Knowledge Exchange Awards

BESS funded two knowledge exchange grants in 2014, both of which have led to exciting outputs and new relationships with industry and business:


CORPORATES - The Cooperative Participatory Evaluation of Renewable Technologies on Ecosystem Services

CORPORATES sought to develop a process for knowledge exchange around marine ecosystem services within the context of marine spatial planning decisions; partners included Aberdeen University (project lead) (Biological Sciences, Geography and Law), the Scottish Association for Marine Studies, Marine Scotland Science and the James Hutton Institute. The project centred on a real-life case in the form of proposed off-shore wind farms and Marine Protected Areas in the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Tay, Scotland, an area where varied interests coincide in space and time. While stakeholder consultation is already integral to existing procedures, the project investigated the usefulness of embedding a participatory ecosystem services approach into the decision-making process.

Download CORPORATES Impact Summary


Assessing and enhancing farmland biodiversity within the food industry: towards an evidence-based online tool​

This project set out to develop an evidence-based biodiversity module for the Cool Farm Tool, combining an evidence synthesis and assessment method developed at the University of Cambridge with an existing approach to farm-scale biodiversity assessment agreed by the SAI Platform and developed by CLM Netherlands.

The Cool Farm Alliance is a not-for-profit enterprise with corporate partners that include some the largest global food and drink companies: Unilever, Heineken, PepsiCo, and others.

Download report on biodiversity module for Cool Farm Tool



Education and outreach

BESS developed and ran learning activities that are linked to the UK regional curricula.  Resources are designed to help parents, teachers and researchers to highlight how we depend on natural resources, to support outdoor learning and to encourage debate about our relationship with nature. Discover BESS's learning resources



Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs)

In 2011, Defra funded a scheme designed to improve connectivity between the UK’s highly fragmented natural habitats following the so-called Lawton Report. 12 areas across England and Wales were targeted as Nature Improvement Areas and their teams charged with monitoring the local biodiversity and ecosystem services. BESS helped to develop the programme from the start and at the end of the initiative through two workshops:



National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-on

The National Ecosystem Assessment or NEA brought together the current information on the state of the UK’s ecosystems and services. The NEA Follow-on or NEAFO commissioned research on some of the uncertainties and problem areas identified in the original synthesis. BESS part-funded the NEAFO, ran a workshop to identify stakeholder needs and co-authored the report Tools – Applications, Benefits and Linkages for Ecosystem Science (TABLES).




A steady stream of publications has been produced from BESS research work. Outputs range from academic papers and reviews in international journals to Policy and Practice notes.

Visit the BESS Publications page.




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