Assessing and valuing ecosystem services

By bringing people with similar interests together in two workshops in 2009 and 2012, Shared Challenges has acted as a catalyst for a broad range of projects related to ecosystem services, helping to make this one of the most active areas of collaborative work across CCI.

A highly successful workshop on ‘Assessing and valuing ecosystem services’ at UNEP-WCMC on the 7th December 2009 highlighted some exciting opportunities for new joint initiatives. A discussion during this meeting led to a successful application to the CCI Collaborative Fund for a project focusing on evidence that establishes circumstances that result in synergies or ‘win-wins’ across different ecosystem services.

A meeting on 7th February 2012 gave people an overview of the results of the ecosystem services projects funded by the Collaborative Fund and to discuss potential future projects stemming from them. These projects include:

  1. Ecosystem service win-wins
  2. Ecosystem services toolkit
  3. Preparing teaching materials and building capacity in biodiversity, ecosystem services and climate change

The focus of the morning was the presentation of results from these projects and to discuss the policy context and application of the ecosystem services approach. The afternoon focused on the future development and application of the Toolkit to measure ecosystem services at the site scale – an output developed by one of these projects.

Project Aims

This is one of the longest running Shared Challenge projects. Its original aim was to bring together people from across CCI who were interested ecosystem services to share knowledge, discuss the practical challenges involved in measuring the benefits provided by ecosystems and to explore opportunities for addressing these through greater collaboration. Interest in the ecosystem services approach has grown and over the last two years, the Programme activities in this area have involved people from all the CCI partners and departments and has brought in researchers and policy makers from outside Cambridge.

Key Activities

  • A meeting hosted by UNEP-WCMC (7th December 2009) to discuss ‘Assessing and valuing ecosystem services’.
  • A workshop at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge (7th February 2012) focused on ‘Ecosystem Services: Past and Future Projects’.

Conservation Impact

Over 100 people have been involved in Shared Challenge activities in this area, or are known to be interested in it, forming the basis for a strong network of people across CCI for future activities.

One idea from the meeting in 2009 resulted in a successful application to the CCI Collaborative Fund to develop a ‘toolkit’ for assessing ecosystem services at a site scale. This project has forged links between a number of the CCI partners and led to a number of related collaborative projects. 

The workshop in 2012 led to an additional partner being brought into a successful bid to the Collaborative Fund for a second stage of the project where the toolkit will be tested in a number of sites in Africa.  This will begin in January 2012, and please follow this link to the project page for more details.


CCI partners Involved

Tropical Biology Association is dedicated to building the capacity and expertise of people and institutions to conserve and manage biodiversity in tropical regions. Its network spans 40 countries.
TRAFFIC is a global wildlife trade monitoring network that works to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature. TRAFFIC is a global network, research-...
IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, is the world's oldest and largest global environmental network. It helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment...
BirdLife International is a strategic global partnership of conservation organisations in over 100 countries, working to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, and to promote...
British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is an independent scientific research trust specialising in impartial evidence-based knowledge and advice about populations, movements and ecology of birds and...
The UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) is the specialist biodiversity assessment arm of the United Nations Environment Programme, the world’s foremost intergovernmental...
The Department of Plant Sciences' research spans plant and microbial sciences. Conservation-related work in the department includes forest ecology and conservation, tropical ecology, mathematical...
Fauna & Flora International (FFI) acts to conserve threatened species and ecosystems worldwide, delivering global and regional programmes of conservation and community projects.
Cambridge Judge Business School (CJBS) provides innovative business management and entrepreneurial learning across a portfolio of undergraduate, graduate and executive programmes. Research...
The Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) works with business, government and civil society to build the capacity of leaders to address global sustainability challenges. Seminars,...
The Department of Zoology carries out wide-ranging work in ecology and conservation including conservation science, aquatic ecology, pathogen evolution and evolutionary ecology. Research of the...
The Department of Land Economy's core research in economics, law and planning focuses on policies and regulations for the management of land and natural resources. There is particular expertise in...
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. It is the largest wildlife conservation organisation in...
The Department of Geography's research clusters focus on society and environment, development and political ecology, culture and demography, environmental processes, landscape modelling and climate...

Other Organisations Involved

Related Resources

Resource Title Description Type
Measuring and monitoring ecosystem services at the site scale: toolkit booklet This booklet is one of the outputs of the project Measuring and monitoring ecosystem services at the site scale: building practical tools for real-world conservation funded and supported through CCI’... Toolkits
TESSA: A toolkit for rapid assessment of ecosystem services at sites of biodiversity conservation importance Many sites that are important for biodiversity conservation also provide significant benefits (i.e. ecosystem services) to people. Understanding the effects of changes to a site on the the delivery... Journal articles
Workshop report: Assessing and valuing ecosystem services (December 2009) A Shared Challenges Programme workshop on 7th December 2009 brought together people from across CCI and beyond to discuss and share experiences on ecosystem services projects. It highlighted some... Workshop proceedings
Workshop report: Ecosystem services - past and future projects (February 2012) The workshop was facilitated by Ruth Swetnam and divided into morning and afternoon sessions. The focus of the morning was the presentation of results from the CCI projects related to ecosystem... Workshop proceedings