Integrated Assessment

The purpose of this Work Package was to develop an analytical framework that enables:

  • Reporting on the current potential of natural resources to provide key ecosystem services.
  • Assessment of the effect of pressures caused by human activities on the provision of ecosystem services.

What are ecosystem services?

Humankind benefits from a multitude of resources and processes that are supplied by natural ecosystems. Collectively, these benefits are known as ‘ecosystem services’ and include products like clean drinking water, fertile soils, the decomposition of wastes, carbon storage and to some extent, recreation and tourism.

More detail:

Understanding the impacts of countryside change

The Integrated Assessment Work Package is concerned with analysing the links between drivers of change in the countryside and their effect on ecosystem services. This is achieved by developing models, or scenarios, based on the DPSIR framework - a system for analysing:

  • The Driving forces that are responsible for change
  • The resulting environmental Pressures on the State of the environment
  • The Impacts resulting from changes in environmental quality
  • Society’s Response to these changes

The DPSIR model helps us to answer four key questions, namely:

  • What is happening in the environment?
  • Why is it happening?
  • Are the changes significant?
  • What is, or could be, the response?

Providing answers to these questions is vital to achieving sustainability. We need to understand how our environment is functioning and how our society needs to act in response to current and future changes.

Working in partnership

The Integrated Assessment is exploring these issues in consultation with Countryside Survey partners and other stakeholders. Consultation includes:

  • Reviewing the scope of the assessment and the proposed analytical framework
  • Identifying the key scientific challenges
  • Refining the intended policy applications and reporting requirements

Information about the DPSIR model is available on the European Environment Agency website.