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Ecosystem services

This page is no longer updated. The information presented here formed part of our previous areas of research. This has included research carried out on behalf of our research partners, commerical contracts and also the Scottish Goverment's Strategic research programme during the period 2011 - 2016.

Scottish Goverment LogoWe have left these pages here to provide background information on our previous areas of research. Further details on the RESAS strategic programme of research (2016-21) will be made available.

Further details on why we archive pages can be found on the following page.

View of fields and hills
The Ecosystem Services Theme builds on the recent UK National Ecosystem Assessment and plans to develop cutting edge methods and approaches to understand the structure, function and interactions of Scottish ecosystems.

Natural Capital is the resource from which Ecosystem Services, i.e. what an ecosystem 'does' or provides that ultimately gives some benefit to humans, are generated. We often think of these services in 4 categories:

  • Provisioning - including food, fibre, timber, raw materials, or medicines
  • Regulating - including flood regulation, climate mitigation, binding of pollutants to stop them entering the water supply, or helping prevent spread of pests and diseases.
  • Cultural - including inspiration, a sense of identity, aesthetic beauty, or spiritual connection.
  • Supporting - including formation of new soil and nutrient cycling.

Much of the work which is done by staff in the Safeguarding Natural Capital theme, feeds directly into the Scottish Government's Ecosystem Services Theme (EST), which builds on the recent UK National Ecosystem Assessment and plans to develop cutting edge methods and approaches to understand the structure, function and interactions of Scottish ecosystems and how these deliver human benefits on a national, regional and local scale.

The EST runs an Ecosystem Approach Working Group which facilitates research partnerships, knowledge exchange and collaboration. Find more details on the EAWG page.

A strand of work reviewing experiences of "the Ecosystem Approach" has its own webpage, which describes this work and related outputs: find more details on this page.

Outputs from our work on ecosystem services can be found on our Research Outputs page.

Research

Areas of Interest


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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.