Guidance: The Ecosystem Approach

The ecosystem approach is a set of principles that guides how we plan and manage the environment for the benefit of society.  It is what drives the work of the Ecosystems Knowledge Network. You can find more detail on the principles of the ecosystem approach here.

On this page, we provide some links to guidance on how to put the approach into practice.

  • The Ecosystem Approach Handbook helps partnerships that are working across areas of land that have a distinctive character to benefit from the ecosystem approach. The handbook builds on partnership projects that Natural England has supported in Bassenthwaite and the South Pennines. It includes resources and case studies shared by members of the Ecosystems Knowledge Network. The handbook was produced by Natural England and Countryscape.
  • Natural England has produced a Quick Start guide on the ecosystem approach.
  • The National Ecosystem Approach Toolkit helps people develop projects and plans that link natural environment with the economy and wellbeing. This web resource, referred to as the NEAT Tree, contains guidance for selecting and using tools that help to apply the ecosystem approach. It will help projects show others that the principles of the ecosystem approach have been applied in their work. The toolkit is an output of a project that formed part of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-on research. It was produced by a team led by Alister Scott, formerly of Birmingham City University.