A conceptual framework to assess the effects of environmental change on ecosystem services

M. D. A. Rounsevell, T. P. Dawson, P. A. Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

A new conceptual framework is presented for the assessment of the impacts of environmental change drivers on ecosystem service provision and the policy and management responses that would derive from the valuation of these impacts. The Framework for Ecosystem Service Provision (FESP), is based on an interpretation of the widely-used Drivers-Pressures-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) framework. FESP differs from the DPSIR by offering clarity in the definitions of the various DPSIR components as well as introducing novel elements of relevance to the ecosystem service approach. The value of a common framework lies in making the comparison across competing services accessible and clear as well as highlighting the conflicts and trade-offs between not only multiple ecosystem services, but also multiple service beneficiaries. The framework is explicit, for example, in recognising as state variables not only the attributes of the Ecosystem Service Providers (ESPs), but also the attributes of the Ecosystem Service Beneficiaries (ESBs). That a service depends as much on the attributes of the people whose well-being benefits from the service as on the attributes of the biology providing the service is an important step in integrated social-ecological thinking. FESP also identifies the mechanisms of either mitigation or adaptation to the environmental change problem through the effect of these response strategies on specific pressure or state variables. In this way, FESP can contribute to the policies and strategies that are used to support conservation management. This paper describes the principles of FESP and presents some indicative examples of its practical implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2823-2842
Number of pages20
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2010


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