Ecosystem Services Visualisation

Organisation: Westcountry Rivers Trust
Location: Any catchment area
Type: Tools & approaches

The Westcountry Rivers Trust, in collaboration with DEFRA and the Rivers Trust, has developed a method for undertaking stakeholder-led spatial visualisation of ecosystem services provisioning areas across a catchment landscape.

During this participatory process, primary, secondary and tertiary stakeholders and technical specialists work with a broker/facilitator to collate and scrutinise all of the data and evidence relating to environmental infrastructure and ecosystem services provision for their area of interest.

Once the evidence has been evaluated, the partnership then works to develop a series of conceptual models or 'rules' that can be used to define areas of the catchment most likely to play a critical role in the provision of the different ecosystem services, singly or in combination. These priority areas are locations where a programme of measures may realise the greatest enhancement in the provision of multiple ecosystem services.

Fundamentally, this is a data visualisation and evidence exploration process that facilitates the development of a shared vision and language in a catchment group.

WRT first developed this approach during the Tamar Partnership Pilot in 2012. Since then, the approach has been adopted in four further catchments in the South West River Basin District and WRT are also working to assist two others. Furthermore, six catchments in the Severn River Basin District and two catchments in the Anglian River Basin District (the Cam & Ely Ouse and East Suffolk) have also used this approach in their catchment partnerships to date.

To view all of the ESS Visualisation Map Books produced so far please visit the WRT Issuu page.


The Catchment-Based Approach website is designed to showcase the work of catchment partnerships aross England and Wales and to encourage the sharing and adoption of best practice in stakeholder-led catchment managment planning, delivery and evaluation.


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