The F3UES Consortium (Fragments, Functions, Flows and Urban Ecosystem Services) looked at how the biodiversity of towns and cities contributes to human well-being. It carried out its work between September 2012 and April 2017, producing a number of research publications with more due to be published during 2018 and 2019.


Aims and Activities

The aim of the F3UES project was to develop a better understanding of the relationships between ecosystem service delivery and biodiversity in urban environments at the landscape scale. In urban areas, green space tends to be divided up into small pieces, by roads, buildings and other human uses of the land. In order to understand how ecosystem services are provided, we need to understand what determines the functions of individual fragments of greenspace, and how these are linked together by flows of materials, organisms, and people.

The project had five major components:

  1. Characterisation of the spatial ecological structure of urban areas
  2. Determination of biodiversity-ecosystem service relationships and the influence of connectivity on them
  3. Determination of the flows of biodiversity, and service delivery in selected cases
  4. Experimental perturbation of biodiversity or flow to determine the impact on ecosystem service delivery
  5. Formulation of spatially explicit models which will form the basis of an “ecosystem service” layer for GIS models

The principal partners in the Consortium were Cranfield University, The University of Sheffield, The University of Exeter, and the British Trust for Ornithology, along with a range of other partners.

Milton Keynes, Bedford and Luton were selected as the urban study sites for the project. Between them they contain a wide range of types of urban greenspace.



The F3UES Consortium has published 14 papers to date on its work. The topics covered include:

  • the challenges and opportunities of creating perennial urban meadows 
  • the amount of interaction with nature in an urban population
  • the influence of urban features on the movements of birds using garden bird feeders


Full details of the work of F3UES and its outputs can be found on the Consortium's website


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