Diversity in Upland Rivers for Ecosystem Service Sustainability



Consortium Leader:

Isabelle Durance, Cardiff University


• Cardiff University: Mike Bruford, Steve Ormerod, Ian Vaughn, Andrew J. Weightman, Havard Prosser and Tim Pagella

• Bangor University: Nigel Milner

• Public Health Wales: Rachel Chalmers

• Forest Research: Thomas R Nisbet and Samantha Broadmeadow

• Lancaster University: John Quinton, Keith Beven, Nick Chappell, Wlodek Tych and Ben Surridge

• Aberystwyth University: Mike Christie

• Queen Mary University of London: Guy Woodward, Jonathan Grey and Daniel Perkins

• Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH): Brian Reynolds

• British Trust for Ornithology (BTO): David Noble and Simon Gillings.


Britain's river ecosystems provide many important ecosystem services. As well as providing water supplies, they regulate flooding and water quality, support adjacent ecosystems by supplying energy and nutrients and provide cultural value by supporting charismatic organisms, recreation and education. However, the ways in which organisms and ecosystem functions maintain these services in rivers are poorly understood, in addition, many of these services are also at risk from climate and land-use changes. This project will focus on four examples of river ecosystem services: The regulation of water quality, the regulation of decomposition, fisheries and recreational fishing and rive birds as culturally valued biodiversity. Using a range of spatial and temporal scales, the project will test the overarching hypothesis that 'biodiversity is central the sustainable delivery of upland river ecosystem services under changing land-use and climate'. It will aim to address many of questions needed to tackle this hypothesis including: What are the links between biodiversity and service delivery? How does river biodiversity affect ecosystem service delivery through time? How should river biodiversity be managed to sustain ecosystem services?

Area of Study:

Upland Wales, river catchments

Ecosystem services to be tackled:

Four main river ecosystem services whose delivery is attributed to biodiversity in upland waters:

  • The regulation of water quality
  • The regulation of decomposition
  • The production of fish
  • The cultural value of fishing and river birds

Stakeholder community for this project:

The research findings will have a direct impact on a range of stakeholders including academic researchers, the water industry, conservations, land managers, policy makers and regulators. Impact will be maximised by the participation in the project of representatives of each of these groups.

Download the DURESS Report on Upland Rivers (PDF, 3.5 Mbytes)

Find out more on the DURESS Website