The Diversity in Upland Rivers for Ecosystem Service Sustainability (DURESS) Consortium investigated how organisms and ecosystem functions maintain river ecosystem services. It focused on four river ecosystem services that are biodiversity-mediated: the regulation of water quality; the regulation of decomposition; fisheries and recreational fishing; and river birds as culturally valued biodiversity. Each is at risk from climate and land-use change, and potentially sensitive to disturbance at different thresholds and at different time-scales.


Aims and Activities

DURESS set out to address the following key questions:

1. What is the range of services delivered by upland rivers, and which are biologically mediated?

2. What are the links between biodiversity from genes to food webs and service delivery?

3. How does river biodiversity affect the rate or resilience of ecosystem service delivery through time?

4. How do changes in catchment land use, management and climate affect river biodiversity?

5. How should river biodiversity be managed to sustain ecosystem services?

The research team included members from a range of academic, public and third sector bodies and was led by Cardiff University. The geographical focus for their work was upland Wales, an area where rivers are major landscape features and which is particularly rich in the spatially extensive and long-term data required for the project.



The principal outputs from the DURESS Consortium include:

  • Upland Scenarios - a report which provides contrasting visions for pollicy makers, land managers and communities of how the UK's uplands could develop over the next 30-40 years.


For full details of the activities and outputs of DURESS, visit the project's website.



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