A healthy natural environment is the foundation of a sustainable future with prospering communities.Fields of barley

In the UK and elsewhere, pioneering projects are exploring new ways of managing land and sea environments and the benefits people derive from them. In particular, they are reflecting an ‘ecosystems approach’: a holistic and inclusive approach to promoting the sustainable use of natural resources and taking better account of the values people hold for the environment.

A new network has been sponsored by Defra with the aim of sharing experience from projects taking an ecosystems approach. Entitled the Ecosystems Knowledge Network, it will stimulate knowledge exchange and practical learning across the country. It will assist organisations and groups to understand how an ecosystems approach can help build sustainable communities.

The Ecosystems Knowledge Network is free to join and open to anyone with an interest in an ecosystems approach. The Network will support the practical use of an ecosystems approach by:

  • Developing an active membership of people and organisations interested in benefiting from an ecosystems approach;
  • Encouraging the sharing of information and experience between projects and between experts and newcomers to the approach; and
  • Engaging with and involving people who might not otherwise be aware of how an ecosystems approach can benefit them.

The new Network is being developed by an independent partnership involving the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, the Natural Capital Initiative, Fabis Consulting, the University of Exeter (Centre for Rural Policy Research) and Countryscape.

The network is being co-ordinated by Bruce Howard from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH).

Professor Rosie Hails of CEH, who leads the Natural Capital Initiative, welcomed the network. She said, "The Ecosystems Knowledge Network is a new resource for sharing the experiences of projects all over the country that are finding ways of valuing and protecting our natural environment for the benefit of all. This includes projects initiated by local communities themselves. The Network is a timely response to the findings of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment."

Additional information

For further information about the Network or to register your interest in joining, please visit the Ecosystems Knowledge Network website.

You can contact Bruce Howard, the Network Co-ordinator, by email or telephone 0333 240 6990.

Countryscape issued a press release related to this announcement.





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