The UK National Ecosystem Assessment (UK NEA) was the first analysis of the UK’s natural environment in terms of the benefits it provides to society and continuing economic prosperity. The UK NEA commenced in mid-2009 and reported in June 2011. It was an inclusive process involving over 500 natural scientists, economists, social scientists, and other stakeholders. The UK NEA included all four UK countries, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, but did not incorporate the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands or any UK overseas territories. It provided an evidence base on UK ecosystems and ecosystem services, highlights knowledge gaps, explores future scenarios and analyses the response options available.

The UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-on (UK NEAFO) was produced in 2014, and sought to develop the work of the NEA and make the ecosystem service framework relevant for decision and policy-making at a range of spatial scales across the UK. The UK NEAFO furthers the analysis in four key areas: economic analysis; cultural ecosystem services; future ecosystem changes; and in tools and materials to engage different audiences with the messages of the UK-NEA.

Lessons learnt: 
The UK NEAFO developed a coherent set of conceptual frameworks, methodologies and tools that can be used by a range of stakeholders (government, private sector and NGOs) to inform and improve decision-making. In particular, adaptive management principles were developed to guide inclusion of ecosystem services in policy and decision-making, and a Decision Support System Toolbox to help decision-makers navigate and access existing tools and materials.

In July 2008, the then UK Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committed to supporting an ecosystem assessment for England over two years. Further discussion with the Devolved Administrations led to the expansion of the assessment to include Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, creating a truly national-scale ecosystem assessment which formally began in March 2009. 

Peer review: 

Each chapter was peer-reviewed by a number of external reviewers - on average, seven per chapter and never less than three for any one chapter.

Sub/region covered: 
Temporal coverage of the assessment: 
Thursday, 6 August, 2009 to Friday, 14 March, 2014
Contact details
Contact Name: 
UK National Ecosystem Assessment - UNEP-WCMC
UN languages in which the assessment is available: