Ecosystem Service Mapping in the Severn Estuary and Inner Bristol Channel

Project description: 

This project, conducted in partnership between Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the RSPB, explored methods for the assessment and mapping of five key ecosystem services within the Severn estuary and Bristol Channel. The three-month project aims to identify priority locations for the supply of key ecosystem services. The identification of ecosystem service hotspots will provide developers, regulators and other stakeholders with an insight into locations and the importance of these sites. This project will also provide a baseline to examine future benefits and dis-benefits from development. The project has 5 clear objectives: Identify and assess 5 key ecosystem services and related activities provided within the greater Severn Estuary, at least one of which should be a cultural service; Map ecosystem services and related activities within a Geographical Information System; Explore potential valuation approaches to add scales to the benefits of the services; and Communicate the findings to key stakeholders.

Organisations involved: 

Plymouth Marine Laboratory, RSPB, Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

Scale of project: 
Severn Estuary and Inner Bristol Channel
Total area covered by project: 
4850 (sq. km)
Special purposes of project: 
Map ecosystem services
Map social/cultural values
What ecosystem service classification was used?: 

5 high importance ecosystem services were selected based on an assessment of the region: Ports and shipping; Carbon storage; Flood risk management; Wild food and fish, including migratory fish; Archaeological resource (cultural service)

Which ecosystem services were focused on?: 

  • Crops, livestock, fish
  • Food
  • Water supply
  • Carbon sequestration & storage
  • Climate regulation
  • Flood control
  • Hazard regulation
Other ecosystem services included: 

Arcgaeological resource (cultural service)

Habitats mapped for ecosystem services: 
Coastal margins
Freshwater, wetlands and floodplains
Baseline data: 
Biological monitoring data
Habitat or land cover
Human census
Rivers data
Contact name: 
Dr. Tara Hooper
Contact job title: 
Environmental Economist
Plymouth Marine Laboratory
Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, Plymouth, PL1 3DH
01752 633100