Ecosystem services

Ecosystem services

Meadows and houses by Kieron Huston

Everything we value comes from nature. 

A healthy wildlife-rich environment is important for its own sake, but we also know that it’s fundamental to society’s wellbeing and the success of the nation’s economy. Land that is managed well for wildlife and agriculture gives us nutritious food and drink, as well as beautiful places to walk, play and exercise.

It also gives us a vibrant economy, clean air and water, resilience to flooding and drought, and reduces the impacts of climate change. These are all public benefits derived from ecosystem services.

The Government’s 25 year plan for the environment offers new policies that recognise the monetary value of the natural environment and the services that it gives us every day. BBOWT looks forward to working with landowners and managers to create more and better connected wildlife-rich landscapes that give wider public benefits for us all.

What are ecosystem services?

Ecosystem services are the many and varied benefits that humans gain from the natural environment and from properly functioning ecosystems. The University of Reading produced four films about the four main aspects of ecosystem services. Click the links below to watch them.

Nature enhances lives: ‘cultural services’ explained

Nature’s assets: ‘natural capital’ explained

Nature provides: ‘provisioning services’ explained

Nature regulates: ‘regulating services’ explained

A local example of nature's value: Chimney Meadows nature reserve

We have taken a good hard look at Chimney Meadows in Oxfordshire, one of our largest nature reserves, to assess the public benefits that come from this land, which is now managed for the natural environment instead of conventional agriculture.

The results are astonishing: Chimney Meadows as a nature reserve has four times as much value to the public than if it was a conventional farm.

You can read more about Chimney Meadows in the report below, which should be of particular interest to anyone making local and regional policies for development, infrastructure and health.

Chimney meadows nature reserve

Chimney Meadows by Andrew Marshall


Chimney Meadows Ecosystem Services Assessment 2017

In 2017, we published a report which found that the management of Chimney Meadows Nature Reserve by BBOWT for the purpose of conserving native plants and breeding waders and wildfowl provided ecosystem services to society of at least four times the value as intensely managing the site as an arable farm.

Read the report
Curlew at Chimney Meadows

Curlew at Chimney Meadows by Andrew Marshall

Nature reserve

Chimney Meadows

plan a visit to Chimney Meadows nature reserve

Visit the reserve

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Nature matters

Health and wellbeing

nature keeps us healthy

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Nature Matters

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Picnic by Katrina Martin


Planning advice

giving wildlife a voice in the planning system 

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Photo by Katrina Martin/2020Vision