CBESS is addressing the question ‘What role does biodiversity play in ecosystem processes and ecosystem service provision of UK salt marsh and  mudflat habitats?’

Our consortium of UK experts ranges from microbial ecologists,environmental economists, to mathematical modellers, practitioners belonging to the British Trust for Ornithologists and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and statutory agencies Natural Resources Wales, Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage. All have an immediate and vested interest in the sustainable use of coastal wetlands.

Together, the CBESS consortium will aim to understand how biodiversity links to ecosystem services, defined according to the UK National Ecosystem Assessment.

Biodiversity and ecosystem services_w

CBESS will combine the detailed study of two regional landscapes with a broad-scale UK-wide study to allow both specific and general conclusions to be drawn.

The regional study will compare two areas of great local and national importance for England: Morecambe Bay on the west coast and the Essex Marshes on the east coast. We will carry out biological and physical surveys at more than 600 stations and use these results to clarify how biodiversity can provide important ecosystem functions. This information will be shared with those interested in using and managing coastal systems. From these studies we will develop practical methods and improved tools for the future analysis, management, and sustainability of the UK’s coastal wetlands.

At both Morecambe Bay and the Essex Marshes socio-economic experiments with be run to determine the monetary and non-monetary value of salt marsh and mud flat habitats. This will further our understanding of cultural services; specifically coastal recreation.