Designated landscapes and their contribution to the ecosystem approach

Pony Trekking, Southern Ball Malmsmead, Exmoor National Park. Credit: Nigel Stone

When HM Government published its Biodiversity Strategy 2020 for England it included an important new target (Target 1C) that focuses on how we can better connect people with nature and appreciate the benefits that the environment provides for society. England’s 34 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and 12 National Parks cover 23% of England (14% and 9% respectively). Together they have the potential to deliver Defra’s Biodiversity 2020 policy Outcome 1C - 17% of land and inland water conserved and delivering for biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Comparable commitments apply elsewhere in the UK.

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Between 2018 and 2019 AONBs reviewed how they contribute towards the above target, using the Natural Capital and Ecosystem Approach Checklist with support on good practice, tools and guidance from Natural England.

A Final Report on this work is available


National Parks

National Parks England (the body that brings together the ten Authorities) has been leading work in this area amongst those charged with delivering the Biodiversity Strategy.  With support from Defra and Natural England, the Authorities are undertaking self-assessments of their areas against this target.  While the assessments help in the evaluation of progress towards Outcome 1C, National Parks England reports that the greatest value from this exercise is:

  • ensuring resources are applied most effectively at a local level
  • bringing partners together around shared goals
  • increasing understanding of the ecosystem approach

A detailed report on this exercise, based on two pilots, and the lessons learned is available, along with supporting annexes that contain the assessment form.

Reports from individual National Park Authorities on the self-assessments they have undertaken are now available:

New to the ecosystem approach or need to share information on it with colleagues in your organisation?