In support of the EU Science for Environmental Policy project led by UWE’s Science Communication Unit (SCU), Dr Mark Everard was asked to serve as science adviser to the European Commission’s IN-DEPTH REPORT, Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity (May 2015, Issue 11). To promote communication of the lessons from this report, a short film entitled Ecosystem services and Biodiversity – Science for Environment Policy has been produced:
Mark was co-writer of the storyboard for this film and also the presenter/narrator. It covers issues highlighted by the EC In-Depth Report, including:
- the role of biodiversity in ecosystem services;
- mapping and assessing ecosystem services;
- valuation of ecosystem services; and
- the importance of systems thinking.
From these sections, it draws out conclusions about ecosystem services now lying at the heart of many policies and initiatives, yet in practice only protecting a subset of biodiversity. Whilst the links between them are far from fully developed, there is mounting evidence that biodiversity is vital for provision of multiple ecosystem services. It is particularly so for maintaining stable and resilient flows of multiple ecosystem services in the long term and under global environmental change. Valuation is discussed, including polar views about how it can help embed the values provided by nature across policy-making but also runs risks associated with ‘commodification’. There is a need for more integrated valuation methods, reflecting a diversity of value systems.
A central thread running through the report is the importance of recognising that biodiversity, ecosystem services and people are all part of a single, interconnected system and our historic trajectory of maximising one at the expense of others creates unforeseen externalities unravelling the integrity of the whole system.