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Northern Ireland Environment Link Logo
 

News

 

Events

 

Jan 2020 right left

  
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Wildlife Garden Work

Sunday 5th January
Derryanvil, near Portadown
Free

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Repowering Democracy? Community participation in the energy transition

Thursday 9th January
Canada Room and Council Chamber, Lanyon Building, Queen’s University Belfast, University Road, Belfast BT7 1NN

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Scrub Control & Path Work

Sunday 19th January
Balloo Wetland & Woodland Bangor
Free

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BIMcert – Reducing the Energy footprint in the Construction Sector

Wednesday 22nd January
Titanic Belfast Building, 1 Olympic Way, Queen’s Road, Titanic Quarter, Belfast, BT3 9EP
Free

What can your business do to reduce plastic waste?

Thursday 23rd January
Northern Ireland Advanced Composites Engineering Centre, NIACE, Airport Road, Belfast BT3 9DZ

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Environmental Conservation Careers Fair

Tuesday 28th January
School of Biological Sciences, Queen’s University Belfast

Delivering Sustainable Housing and Communities

Wednesday 29th January
1 Northumberland Avenue, London, WC2N 5BW

Feeding the City 2020 – Ideation Workshop

Thursday 30th January
Loveworks, Macrory Centre, 130 Duncairn Gardens, Belfast BT15 2GL
Free

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Ecosystem services

Natural Capital can be defined as the stock of natural assets which include geology, soil, air, water and all living things. These natural assets, provide the life support systems (ecosystem services) upon which we all depend.

Ecosystem services

It is from this Natural Capital that we derive a wide range of services, often called ecosystem services, which make human life possible. The most obvious and important ecosystem services include the food we eat, the water we drink, the fresh air we breathe, and the plant materials we use for fuel, building materials and medicines. There are also many less visible ecosystem services such as:

  • Climate regulation and natural flood defences provided by forests
  • Flood management and water purification services provided by wetlands
  • Carbon sequestration (storage) services provided by peatlands
  • Pollination of crops by insects.

Other services include the leisure, recreational, tourism, cultural and physical and mental health and wellbeing benefits of nature including, amongst others, the opportunity to walk up a mountain or along a beach, or cycle through a forest, each of which will also have direct and indirect financial benefits. 

Natural capital underpins our well–being and economic prosperity, providing multiple benefits to society, yet it is consistently undervalued in decision–making. 

Natural capital accounting is considered integral to the delivery of
DEFRA’s 25 Year Environment Plan
. Natural capital assessments have been championed as an efficient, practical and readily understandable approach to supporting more effective policy and investment decisions.

Read More

UK woodland provided the equivalent of £5.6 billion of ecosystem services in 2014.

The value of a tree standing provides around 30 times more in recreational benefit and carbon and pollution removal, than it would provide if cut down for timber.

The introduction of the grey squirrel in the 19th century is one of the best known examples of invasion by an invasive species. It has the ability to carry the squirrel pox virus which is lethal to our native red squirrels.

Floating pennywort, one of the most invasive aquatic plants, was first detected in Northern Ireland in 2002.

Invasive alien species are estimated to cost the Northern Irish economy an estimated £46.5million per year.

Even though peatlands only cover 3% of the global land area, they contain approximately 30% of all the carbon on land, equivalent to 75% of all atmospheric carbon and twice the carbon stock in the global forest biomass.

Coastal wetlands in the USA are estimated to currently provide US$23.2 billion per year in storm protection services alone.

Wise use of wetlands, including the conservation and restoration of hydrological functions, is essential in maintaining an infrastructure that can help meet a wide range of policy objectives.

Some wetland areas can play important roles in flood mitigation and thereby provide an important regulating ecosystem service, since approximately 2 billion people live in high flood risk zones.

64% of lakes in Northern Ireland are eutrophic or hypertrophic.

Functioning ecosystems contribute billions of pounds to the UK economy – however, ecosystem services are not given consideration in standard financial assessments.

Pollination of Northern Ireland’s apple trees, primarily by honey bees, is worth over £7 million per year; pollination of other fruits and vegetables is worth an additional £100,000 per year.

The UK’s population is predicted to grow by nearly 10 million in the next 20 years; this is likely to increase pressures on ecosystem services in the future.

Approximately 2 billion people in the world live in high flood risk zones.

Drainage for agriculture or forestry turns peatlands from a carbon sink to a carbon source. CO2 emissions from peatland drainage, fires and exploitation are approximately 3 billion tonnes per year, which equates to more than 10% of the global fossil fuel emissions.