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Provision of Ecosystem Services through the Environmental Stewardship Scheme - NR0121

Description
The Environmental Stewardship Scheme (ES) is the main agri-environment scheme available to land managers in England. It aims to secure widespread environmental benefits. The scheme is currently being reviewed to ensure that it is effective and efficient and is making an increasing contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation. As part of this review the primary purpose of this project is to assess the ecosystem services currently provided, or with the potential to be provided, through the ES scheme. This recognises that the ES is a multi-objective scheme, where each agreement is expected to contribute to a number of environemntal objectives and theefore the concept of environmental services is highly relevant. To-date it has been difficult to fully capture and quantify the cumulative benefits the scheme delivers. This study therefore will provide evidence about the benfits of ES, identify areas where the schemes has potential to make a greater contribution and help inform future decisions regarding the balance of objectives and geographical coverage/ desired uptake of the scheme. In the light of increasing resources being spent through ES, it is important that there is an assessment of the full environmental impact (including any unintended effects) of the expenditure on ES agreements; and the evidence to make any adjustments to the scheme to increase its environmental effectiveness

Particular aspects that will be considered through this study are; to identify the extent to which the ES currently contributes to the provision of different ecosystem services through analysis of current levels of uptake for each of the ES management options; to make recommendations on how the delivery of ecosystem services through the ES could be measured; to make recommendations on the extent to which it would be possible to place an economic value on the ecoystem services delivered through the ES and to identify how this might be achieved; and to recommend how ecosystem service delivery might be enhanced through the Environmental Stewardship scheme.
Objective
The key objectives of the study are as follows:

1) To identify the ecosystem services with the potential to be impacted or provided through the current provisions under the Environmental Stewardship scheme – relating these to the management options through which they are impacted or provided and the current measured scheme objectives and outputs.

2) To comment, in qualitative terms, on the likely extent to which ES currently contributes to the provision of each of these ecosystem services, based on data of the uptake of the scheme across England and of the various management options.

3) To recommend how the delivery of ecosystem services through the Environmental Stewardship scheme could be measured, and the extent to which this is currently possible. This will include identification of relevant datasets and related monitoring initiatives that could be used to monitor these services.

4) To develop a clear framework to show the links between the ecosystem services identified as being delivered through ES and the benefits on which an economic value might be placed. This would lead to recommendations on the extent to which it would be possible to place an economic value on the ecosystem services delivered and how this might be achieved.

5) To recommend opportunities to enhance the ecosystem goods and services, provided by ES nationally. For example, through targeting specific management options and combinations of option at optimal locations.

6) To produce a draft and final report that covers the full scope of the study.

Project Documents
• Final Report : Provision of Ecosystem Services through the Environmental Stewardship Scheme   (254k)
• Final Report - Annex : Provision of Ecosystem Services through the Environmental Stewardship Scheme   (2069k)
• Final Report - Annex : Provision of Ecosystem Services through the Environmental Stewardship Scheme   (286k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2008

To: 2008

Cost: £68,874
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Land Use Consultants - Bristol
Keywords
Agri-Environment              
Arable              
Ecosystem              
Land              
Natural Environment              
Services              
Fields of Study
Ecosystems Approach