The DURESS project is looking at the value of river ecosystems.

Positively managing ecosystems to increase their service value

Cardiff University

Researcher: Isabelle Durance

Funder: NERC

A project lead by Cardiff University is investigating how organisms and ecosystem functions maintain river ecosystem services.

The Diversity in Upland Rivers for Ecosystem Service Sustainability (DURESS) project will provide crucial knowledge as the effect of pollution, catchment land use and climate change has significant cost implications for, recreational fisheries, water treatment and high-value river biodiversity and others.

Rivers and their catchments could be managed positively to increase their ecosystem service value by enhancing beneficial in-river organisms.

DURESS focuses on four river ecosystem services that are biodiversity-mediated:

  • The regulation of water quality.
  • The regulation of decomposition.
  • Fisheries and recreational fishing.
  • River birds as culturally valued biodiversity.

Each is at risk from climate and land-use change, and potentially sensitive to disturbance at different thresholds and at different time-scales.

The four services chosen for investigation vary in attributable market values, and to understand them requires collaboration between the physical, biogeochemical, ecological and socio-economic sciences that the project partnership provides.

DURESS ranges from small experimental catchments to the whole uplands of Wales and will test the overarching hypothesis that:

Biodiversity is central to the sustainable delivery of upland river ecosystem services under changing land-use and climate.