Biodiversity & Ecosystem Service Sustainability (BESS) is a six-year (2011-2017) £15M NERC research programme, supported by BBSRC, designed to answer fundamental questions about the functional role of biodiversity in key ecosystem processes and the delivery of ecosystem processes at the landscape scale.

BESS tackles 3 main questions:

  • What are the linkages between the flows of ecosystem services from stocks of natural capital at a range of scales, especially at the landscape level, and across environmental gradients?
  • How are these stocks, flows and the linkages between them likely to change in the future and how resilient will they be to drivers such as climate change, food security imperatives, population growth, etc?
  • Can we develop novel tools and indicators for tracking and measuring changes in stocks and flows?

BESS Network Map

BESS National Network

These challenges, described in more detail in the BESS Science Plan and BESS Implementation Plan are being addressed through 4 major consortia focusing on key landscapes – lowland farmland, coastal wetlands, upland rivers and urban systems - and several research grants and BESS fellowship.

In addition, BESS funded 2 Knowledge Exchange grants  and co-funded a joint project on catchment modelling with Defra, Scottish Government and the Macro Nutrient Cycles programme .

The BESS programme  is co-ordinated by a directorate based at York and much of the glue that binds this large network of researchers and stakeholders comes from our energetic early career scientists and programme of workshops and working groups .