SEI Contact:

Kevin Hicks

Telephone: +44 1904 322896

Time-frame: 2011–2017

Biodiversity & Ecosystem Service Sustainability (BESS)

The natural systems that underpin the delivery of those services and benefits that society enjoys, such as clean water, food production, protection from flooding and recreation, are being increasingly challenged by an increasing population, demand for housing and infrastructure, the need to feed a rapidly growing planet and climate change.


Our landscapes need to be managed appropriately to ensure the sustainable delivery of these servcies into the future. But we do not truly understand the linkages between the stocks of biodiversity within those landscape and the flows of services from those stocks. Until we have a better grasp of those linkages, those responsible for managing our landscapes will be doing so under great uncertainty.

Biodiversity & Ecosystem Service Sustainability (BESS) is a six-year (2011-2017) NERC research programme, designed to reduce that uncertainty. It will answer fundamental questions about the functional role of biodiversity in key ecosystem processes and the delivery of ecosystem processes at the landscape scale and how these are likely to change in an uncertain future.

By providing a much improved evidence base, those responsible for how landscapes are used and developed should be in much better position to make decisions about the inevitable trade-offs that are required to ensure sustainable futures.

The BESS programme Directorate is based at the University of York and is responsible for overseeing the proper management and coordination of the research and knowledge exchange activities undertaken, to ensure an integrated programme with maximum impact. SEI forms part of the Directorate under the leadership of Professor Dave Raffaelli and Professor Piran White of the Environment Department.


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