2011 Ecosystem Services Advisory Group Annual Report
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
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
scientific support to facilitate effective regulatory decision making.
- Provide a forum
for knowledge transfer (lecture series, special science symposia),
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. You can become a member of the ES-AG by expressing your
interest on your SETAC profile. This will enable access to the forum for the
ES-AG on the SETAC communities site. At this site a full description of the
ES-AG can be found, as well as reports of meetings and announcements (http://communities.setac.net, go to
professional advisory group / topic communities). 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.