Water Theme 2: Ecosystem Services and Sustainability

Water demand and availability pressures, amplified by climate change (including the apparent changing frequency and severity of extreme events such as floods and droughts) have increased the stress on water bodies and associated ecosystems. The environment doesn’t exist in isolation; it both affects and is affected by many aspects of our lives.

Environmental resources and ecosystem services are direct inputs into the economy.The concept of ecosystem services is based upon the assumption that there is a connection between good ecological status and the provision of several benefits, such as water supply, food supply, biodiversity, landscape value, and others, and it is already used by some managers and decision makers as a powerful tool for building and implementing programs of measures.

Approaches using ecosystem services could therefore potentially support Water Framework Directive objectives.

This thematic area will:

  • Further our understanding of ecosystems context, functions and processes, and safeguard natural resources for future generations by identifying measures to help the adaptation and reaction to current and future pressures on the aquatic environment. 
  • Develop new tools in the field of ecological engineering and early warning systems.
  • Develop a better understanding of the socio-economic aspects, governance and behavioural changes associated with this area, including issues of preservation vs. restoration costs and the demonstration of the economic value and social benefits of aquatic ecosystem services.

Other Water Research Themes: