The idea that ecosystems provide economic and other services is well established and formed the basis of, for instance, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005). Ecosystem services are fundamental to the functioning of socio-ecological systems.
Examples are the provisioning for clean water, regulating for the global climate, cultural for the aesthetic value of nature, supporting services for biomass production.
Understanding, measuring and valuing
In particular, the interaction between adaptations in ecological, physical and socio-economic components of ecosystem services is not well understood. The ecosystem service concept also offers new perspectives for the governance of natural resources, including biodiversity.
Energy, food and mobility systems will become more sustainable if they are shaped more closely to the potentials that biophysical systems offer. An interdisciplinary approach is applied, drawing on ecological, economics and political science strengths, and aiming at major scientific and methodological advances in applying the ecosystem service concept.
Key research foci
• The quantification and prediction of ecological interactions under global change
• The modeling and measurement of ecosystem services
• The valuation of ecosystem services
• The development of novel approaches to the governance of ecosystem services
Core Faculty Members
Prof Rien Aerts
Prof Jacintha Ellers
Prof Henk Overbeek
Prof Sampurno Bruijnzeel
Prof Peter Verburg