Applying ecosystem service and resilience concepts to rivers: Research project

The utility of the ecosystem service approach and resilience concept is well established but its application to rivers is still in its infancy. A number of differing approaches are been developed via PhD research and collaborative projects under the auspices of the International Society of River Science working group on riverine ecosystem services and river resilience.

A collaborative PhD project with the University of Melbourne is modelling how river network shape influences ecosystem service provision and applying the research to a number of catchments in Australia and South West England. A Scottish Natural Heritage funded project has also developed a bespoke Googlearth based remote sensing approach and assessing whether Scottish rivers with nature conservation designations supply more ecosystem services than undesignated rivers. As part of this project cultural ecosystem services were incorporated in to the methodology. PhD research is also being carried out on how geomorphic river types influences ecosystem services and field validation of an established remote sensing approach. Finally, under a current EU COST action programme (SMIRES) collaborative work is being undertaken on ecosystem services in intermittent rivers.

Linked to the ecosystem service approach is the concept of resilience. Its application to rivers is being researched in conjunction with a team of scientists working under an English Environment Agency initiative.

University members