North Devon Marine Pioneer

Title: A Natural Capital Plan for the North Devon Marine Pioneer

Funder and duration: EMFF 2019-2020

Lead partner: North Devon Biosphere Reserve

Location: UK

University of Plymouth staff: Dr Sian Rees, Dr Matthew Ashley

The UK Government’s 2011 commitment to mainstream the value of nature across our society, to create a green economy and to strengthen the connections between people and nature has been realised in the Government’s 2018 publication for a 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment. Central to the 25 Year Plan is the relationship between natural assets (e.g. species, habitats, water, and air); the services they support (e.g. erosion protection, water purification) and the societal benefits obtained (e.g. food, recreation). This has been mainstreamed as the ‘Natural Capital Approach’.

To operationalise the Natural Capital Approach Defra has created four pioneer projects to inform the development and implementation of the 25 Year Environment Plan. The Marine Pioneers are located in North Devon and Suffolk. The North Devon Marine Pioneer (NDMP) is intended to test, at a local scale, how marine natural capital can be effectively managed to deliver benefits to the environment, economy and people, and identify how best to share and scale up this learning.

The purpose of the project is to develop the framework for the application of the Natural Capital Approach in the marine environment, building on a knowledge base from the NERC SWEEP project that will specifically support the delivery of the Pioneer programme in North Devon and associated projects including the WWF led UK SEAS programme sustainable finance work stream. 

The project objectives are to: 

1) To demonstrate the pathways between ecology, ecosystem services and benefits that influence the human wellbeing; 

2) Identify how stakeholders are linked (directly or indirectly) to natural capital; and 

3) Identify relevant indicators, data sources and potential means for valuing ecosystem service benefits (monetary and non-monetary).