Ecosystems Approach

An Ecosystems Approach recognises that people are part of their surrounding ecosystems. We are often a major influence on natural systems to the extent that they do not really function in their natural state any more. However, we still inherit the capacities and limits of natural processes and exceeding these in the long term threaten a healthy sustainable future. The Ecosystem Approach is therefore based upon a series of fundamental principles based upon natural functions, cultural values, inclusion, and good management practice. This in turn can be linked to related initiatives such as nature-based , ecosystem-based or natural solutions.

I have been involved in several projects investigating how to put these principles into practice, including for climate change, integrated land use management, river basin management and coastal zone management. Working with, rather than against, natural processes makes a lot of sense, both in terms of science and policy, and can provide multiple benefits, especially when schemes are matched with the appropriate landscape contexts.


Brown I (2018) Evaluating climate change risks for the natural environment to facilitate cross-sectoral adaptation policy. Philosophical Transactions Royal Society A. doi:10.1098/rsta.2017.0297

Brown, I, Everard M (2015) A working typology of response options to manage environmental change and their scope for complementarity using an Ecosystem Approach. Environmental Science & Policy, 52, 61-73

Brown, I, Berry, P, Everard, M, Firbank, L, Harrison, P, Lundy, L, Quine, C, Rowan, J, Wade, R, Watts, K (2015)Identifying robust response options to manage environmental change using an Ecosystem Approach: a stress-testing case study for the UK. Environmental Science & Policy, 52, 74-88

Everard, M, Brown, I (2014) Response options: incorporating the Ecosystem Approach into robust and adaptable decision-making. Environmental Scientist, 23(4), 50-55

Albon, S, Turner, K, Watson, R, Anger, A, Baker, J, Bateman, I, Bentley, S, Blyth, N, Bowles-Newark, N, Brown, al. (2014) UK National Ecosystem Assessment follow on: Synthesis of the Key Findings