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Evaluating our Environment: moving from a reductionist analysis to a holistic assessment of ecosystems

Location: London (UK)
Event Type: Meeting
Event Date: 2008-12-16    

Event Description:
16 December 2008 10:30 - 18:00 Registration from 10am
RSS, 12 Errol Street, London EC1Y 8LX

The ecosystem services concept brings ideas on the structure and [function] of a whole ecosystem together within the context of assessing and valuing the services the ecosystem provides to humans (clean air, drinking water, recreation, ). One reason for an ecosystem services assessment can be to quantify the effect on people of changes in ecosystem [function] linked to known drivers (policy, climate change, pollution, ), Statistics, ecology, environmental science, social science and economics all have a role to play in these complex assessments.

Environmental science has traditionally studied ecosystem structure and [function], including the effects of external and internal drivers of change. The knowledge within this science base is a necessary foundation of any valuation within an ecosystem services study. Examples of recent research on components of ecosystems will be presented and their potential contribution to an ecosystem services assessment will be discussed.

The valuation of an ecosystem through its component parts and its [function] in terms of the provision of services to the human population is not a trivial task. Many studies concentrate on economic benefits, but the valuation of non-monetary benefits is another important contribution to a holistic assessment and any subsequent decision process.

Translating a concept into a practical tool forces a re-evaluation of the underlying assumptions and the discovery of how far the ideas can be stretched before they become essentially uninformative. Understanding any limitations of the ecosystem services concept may be an important part of its useful application.

The meeting will explore the validity, practicality and limitations of the ecosystem services concept and how we might deliver a more holistic assessment of our environment.

Please go to the website to register.

The charges for this event are:
20 Retired/EDA/Student Fellows
25 CStats/GradStats
27 Fellows
30 Linked Associates/Section, Group or Student members
35 None of the above

Contact email:

Event programme:
Setting the context and current use

Ecosystem service assessments at UK long term monitoring sites

Assessing ecosystem functioning, thresholds and resilience using long-term ecological records

Can an ecosystem refuse to deliver services? How to value real values.
In my contribution I will argue that many oft-cited ecosystem services are entirely unavoidable consequences of ecosystem functioning, even in very degraded ecosystems. Valuation of these services may not always help management decisions. It will also not replace due consideration of aesthetic, cultural and even moral values in our attitude towards nature.

Estimating biospheric carbon fluxes
Carbon stocks are key ecosystem components. This contribution will describe a way of estimating changes in them, and - crucially for mature policy formulation - assessing uncertainty in the estimates.

Ecosystem Valuation: A sequential decision support system and quality assessment issues
In this paper, we argue for a sequential decision support system that can lead to a more integrated and rigorous approach to environmental valuation and biophysical measurement of ecosystem services. We also review guidance on valuation studies quality assurance, and discuss the problems inherent with benefits transfer - the most common way valuation studies are applied in the policy process.

Design considerations for establishing monitoring schemes
As new, more holistic, ecosystem metrics become established, we will become interested in recording changes over time in these metrics and understanding the causes of such changes. I will draw on experiences from monitoring schemes for individual ecosystem components, and discuss how such experiences can guide the establishment of future monitoring schemes.

A holistic approach to costing the impact of man's activities in the marine environment

Collaborators and organisers:
Meeting Contact: Ron Smith []
Organising Group(s): Environmental Statistics Section/RSS panel on Statistics for Ecosystem Change/The International Environmetrics Society

Website url:

Registration form: 

Registration fee: 

Relevant costs that should be taken by MARBEF:  

Possibility for day-care centres (facilities for children): No

MarBEF supported event: No

Event within Framework of MARBEF: (none)

Maximum number of participants: 

External participants (non MARBEF) allowed: Yes

Posted by wardappeltans on 2008-12-11 and approved by webmaster