Making the Parrett Catchment more sustainable calls for wider
consideration of all the land use functions, goods and services that the catchment's
natural resources can provide. The key drivers of ecosystem change in England
often lie beyond the remit of those charged with the conservation and management
of our natural resources.
To enable more effective decision-making, ecosystem
assessments have to move beyond simply assembling biophysical data describing
how systems are changing. It will be essential for tools developed by this project
to be as robust and easy to use as possible by all organisations, interest groups
and possibly even communities in the catchment. The study will try to ensure this
by developing an inclusive approach for creating a socially negotiated framework
in which the values of ecosystem goods and services are better understood, and
the limits to necessary or desired levels of their supply are adequately identified.
Although unique in many ways the sustainability issues and opportunities found
in the Parrett catchment are sufficiently generic in character for the study to
be useful in testing and developing guidelines for best practice that could be
applied elsewhere. Our findings will be communicated as widely as possible to
spread the learning from this case study.