Ecosystems Services

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Ecosystems play an important role in human wellbeing, and both cultural and natural heritage give rise to social and economic values through the provision of Ecosystem Services. Identification of these services and their associated economic and social values is the aim of Ecosystems Services (ES) and Natural Capital assessments.

Ecosystem Services can be grouped into four categories:

  • Provisioning Services (e.g. material or consumable outputs from ecosystems);
  • Regulating Services (e.g. the role of ecosystems in regulating, for example air quality or soil);
  • Supporting and Habitat Services (e.g. the habitats provided by ecosystems); and
  • Cultural Services (e.g. cultural services provided by ecosystems such as recreation and tourism).

The environment we have inherited today is the result of a combination of human activities and natural processes, some of which have occurred over millennia. Landscapes and seascapes form both physical manifestations of this ongoing human-environment relationship, and arenas in which this relationship will be played out today and in the future. This complex view of the environment around us is necessary to fully understand the services and values we derive from it.

MSDS Marine have the capability to undertake Ecosystems Service assessments. To do so we draw on a variety of sources. These include desk-based sources, fieldwork, stakeholder engagement and valuation tools.

The photos below show stakeholder engagement activities conducted as part of one of our Ecosystem Services Assessments undertaken on behalf of Historic England. Find out more here.