Ecosystem services in wooded landscapes


Dynamics and thresholds of ecosystem services in wooded landscapes (New Forest BESS)

Prof Adrian Newton, Dr Elena Cantarello, Dr Philip Martin (now at University of Cambridge), Ed Mountford (JNCC), Arjan Gosal (now at University of Leeds), Paul Evans, Bournemouth University.


Woodlands in many parts of the world are currently at risk because of the combined effects of climate change, aerial pollution, overgrazing and the spread of pests and diseases. These factors can interact with each other, leading to the collapse of wooded ecosystems and their replacement with other plant communities.

Research is needed to identify which woodland areas are at risk of such collapse occurring, so that appropriate management responses can be identified. Information is also needed on the potential impacts of such “ecosystem thresholds”, both on wildlife and on humans, through changes in the provision of ecosystem services. New Forest BESS aimed to provide this information, by studying woodlands in the New Forest National Park.

New Forest BESS involved a combination of field surveys along gradients of forest die-back, resurvey of long-term plots and use of spatially explicit models of ecosystem dynamics. The project helped understanding of how major ecological changes occur in woodlands, and their potential ecological and societal impacts.  Stakeholders included the Forestry Commission Scotland, JNCC and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

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