The School of Environmental Sciences, through its Centre for Social and
Economic Research on the Global Environment (CSERGE) has exerted a seminal
influence upon decision-making regarding natural capital and the ecosystem
services they supply. Major impacts have been upon UK Government Policy
(including the Natural Environment White Paper); Government guidelines
(regarding the valuation of ecosystem services and their incorporation
within decisions); underpinning UK Official Reports (including the UK
National Ecosystem Assessment); Government Committees (including the Defra
Science Advisory Council and H.M. Treasury Natural Capital Committee); and
the business sector (such as the privatised water companies). In addition,
substantial TV, radio and newspaper exposure has generated impact through
raising awareness of ecosystem service related issues.
The ecosystem approach has been advocated as a way of moving
consideration of biodiversity and the environment closer to the centre of
decision-making. A conceptual `cascade model', developed by Haines-Young
and Potschin, has successfully overcome the challenge of the ecosystem
approach by showing how it can be used in practice. The cascade model
forms the basis of the Common International Classification of Ecosystem
Services (CICES), recently introduced by the European Environment Agency
(EEA), and has changed how UK and European policy-makers define the
relationship between nature and the economy.
Bournemouth University's (BU) pioneering analytical method of mapping
ecosystem services and
their associated values has led to significant impacts on environmental
policy, planning and
implementation at a global scale. Research informed the Convention of
strategic plan for 2011-20 and its target to restore 15% of degraded
ecosystems. Planned delivery
of this target employs the use of Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR); an
tested and refined though BU research. Delivery using this method is
already underway, with 50
million hectares committed by individual countries. Such restoration
efforts have wide-reaching
benefits to people and the environment, including carbon storage and
Our research on the hydro-ecology of restored wetlands has had impact
through i) Changing the
practices of conservation Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in wetland
and monitoring. This has been achieved by re-framing approaches to
restoration as `open-ended'
rather than `prescriptive'; and by producing a clear and accessible new
guideline document on how
to monitor open-ended, landscape-scale wetland restoration projects; ii)
Building capacity for
NGOs in biodiversity monitoring through running 44 workshops for
volunteers on species
identification; iii) Challenging conventional conservation wisdoms on
approaches to habitat
restoration through debate with stakeholder groups; iv) Increasing the
influence of conservation
NGOs and government agencies by providing them with a new toolkit for
measuring the ecosystem
services of restored wetlands.
This case study concerns the development, adoption and dissemination of
approaches to the sustainable management of social-ecological systems
(SES) within the
Guiana Shield region of South America. Spanning the countries of Guyana,
Guiana and areas of Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia, this region is of
significance for carbon storage, fresh water resources and biodiversity.
Its indigenous, Amerindian
communities have a potentially crucial role to play in sustainable
conservation policy and practice.
However, local economic and cultural changes, extractive industries, and
global dynamics such as
climate change are bringing profound challenges to these local communities
and their SES.
Research at Royal Holloway has responded to these challenges by involving
indigenous peoples in
both biodiversity science and sustainability policy. The work allows
indigenous communities to
identify, through participatory research methods, the most effective
practices they have for
surviving and thriving sustainably.
The impacts of the research are of four main types:
Appropriate land policy is vital to ensure sustainable food supplies,
economic development and environmental protection. Research by the Centre
for Rural Policy Research (CRPR) has developed the policy and management
implications of the ecosystems services approach to valuing and protecting
the environment, which stresses integrated and equitable management of
land, water and living resources. The research has contributed to major
shifts in policy and practice by national government bodies and changes in
the attitudes and behaviour of farming communities. The main impacts have
Science has guided national dryland policy in Africa through approaches
that have omitted local knowledge, and has informed international policy
through implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat
Desertification (UNCCD), previously developed by a Roster of Experts. Our
national and district-level research in Botswana has identified routes to
increase community involvement in degradation monitoring, and our
strategies have been rolled out nationally via agricultural extension
workers, allowing knowledge to inform farming practices and land policy.
Our analysis of the wider international context has led us to propose new
science-to-policy pathways that have allowed the UNCCD to draw more
effectively upon both local and scientific evidence.
The project combined stakeholder knowledge with natural science to
identify future scenarios and
adaptation options for uplands. Research into upland ecosystem services
scenarios (e.g. around carbon management) and important trade-offs (e.g.
effects on biodiversity).
These were embedded within government policy reports leading to additional
work in government
departments seeking to overcome policy barriers in these areas in order to
recommendations from the research. Overcoming these policy barriers has
government's decision to work in partnership to launch a new peatland
carbon code, focussing on
upland peatlands, creating corporate social responsibility (CSR) options
for companies via
peatland protection and restoration.
New approaches to analysing and modelling water systems, developed at
Cardiff, have driven national policy changes to improve the proportion of
fully functioning water ecosystems in the UK. UK Government, Welsh
Government and a range of NGOs have adopted these new approaches, which
replace traditional descriptive methods with experimental, analytical and
modeling techniques for understanding water ecosystems.
These approaches have been used to develop the water-related component of
the National Ecosystem Assessment. This document has directly impacted on
UK river management policy, forming the basis of two Defra White papers,
`Natural Choice' and `Water for Life', underpinning Welsh Government's
Natural Environment Framework and informing the work of a range of NGOs.
Research on the relationship between the livelihood strategies of
artisanal miners and the regulation of resource extraction has had impact
in three main areas: