Ecosystem Services are the benefits people obtain from ecosystems and are classified as provisioning services (e.g. food, fuel), regulating services (e.g. air quality, pollination), cultural services (e.g. educational values, sense of place) and supporting services (e.g. photosynthesis, nutrient cycling). The ecosystem services concept has recently been highlighted by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005), where it was used to explain the link between biodiversity and human well-being. Biodiversity is considered to be the main provider of ecosystem services. The concept provides a useful tool for communicating the importance and urgency of environmental management and protection, as it shows our dependency on ecosystems, whilst acknowledging that humans are part of ecosystems.
The ecosystem services concept is gaining increasing prominence in environmental policy making and several environmental organizations have adopted, or are considering adopting, the concept. Although the concept is gaining popularity with regulators and policy makers, the underlying science required to put policy into practice is still in its infancy; most attention having been given to the valuation rather than the sustainable management of ecosystem services.
This provides an excellent opportunity for SETAC to influence and facilitate the development of this area of environmental science and policy.
The primary aim of the SETAC Ecosystem Services Advisory Group (ES-AG) is to create a platform for the exchange of information and ideas for the use of the ecosystem services concept in risk assessment and management, environmental regulation and valuation of ecosystem services. The latter provides a link with economic sciences. The ES-AG exists to serve as a scientific resource for all stakeholders interested in the topic of ecosystem services, and fulfills the following mission and purpose:
- Advance overall understanding of the use of the ecosystem services concept.
- Serve as a focal point within SETAC as a means of involving the membership in research and discussions.
- Provide scientific support to facilitate effective regulatory decision making.
- Provide a forum for knowledge transfer (lecture series, special science symposia),
- Organize sessions at annual meetings and organizing workshops to address scientific issues associated with ecosystem services.
To achieve its mission and purpose, the activities of the ES-AG may include:
- The organization of temporary "projects” in order to extensively elaborate on a specific task suggested from interested parties within or outside of the group.
- Developing a specific area of the SETAC web site for the ES-AG
- Developing an active presence in the SETAC community forum
- Holding targeted (subject specific) discussion groups at annual meetings or workshops.
The ES-AG is an advisory group within the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) and is accountable to SETAC World Council. The group was established in April 2010. The ES-AG is lead by a chairperson and a steering committee, who are SETAC members. The chairperson and the steering committee provide leadership and initiative to carry out the goals of the Group, and co-ordinate their activities through meetings at SETAC conferences, by email communication and through the SETAC communities site. Steering committee members are: Joke van Wensem (chair) Soil Protection Technical Committee (TCB), Netherlands; Lorraine Maltby, University Sheffield, UK; Tim Canfield, US-EPA; Ron Gouguet, Windward Environmental, USA; Michael Warne, Department of Environment and Resource Management Queensland, Australia. The steering committee is not complete yet.
Membership of the ES-AG is open to all interested persons, whether they are SETAC members or not. Click the "Join Group" button near the top of this page to become a member. Please note, you must be signed in to join this group. Otherwise, contact one of the steering committee members or one of the SETAC offices to get in touch with the SETAC Ecosystem services Advisory Group.