Ecosystem Services

Ecosystem Services 

Are the benefits provided by ecosystems that contribute to human survival and enhance our wellbeing.  They can be direct, indirect and can be spilt into four categories.  

They could help reduce summer solar and heat gain through tree planting, reduce run off and flooding, provide spaces to improve wellbeing and reduce particulate pollution. 

Financial benefits can be calculated.  Natural Capital research on woodlands, in 2015, on behalf of DEFRA concluded that per year; recreational value accounted for £1.7billion, CO2 sequestration for both deciduous and coniferous trees totalled £813million, biomass for timber totalled £174million.

Biodiversity 

Refers to all the variety of life that can be found on Earth (plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms) in addition to the diverse communities that they form and habitats in which they live. The greater diversity of species the higher ecosystem productivity and no matter how small, all organisms have a part to play. Recent declines in biodiversity are largely attributable to man-made causes and being aware of these issues we must all manage these impacts to prevent further loss (UoG Biodiversity Action Plan 2020-25).

Want an animated guide? Take a look at the below.

At the University 

The University is fortunate to have 6.7 hectares of natural land across our campuses. To date we have 157 animal species recorded, including around 25 species listed as red and vulnerable. Our Ecosystems Services Policy sets out our overall vision and aims for how to achieve a balance of conservation, education and enhancing the enjoyment obtained from students and staff. The plans and strategy are agreed through the university’s Ecosystem Services Steering Group, formed of academics, estates and facilities staff, headed by the sustainability team

If you are a student or staff member and interested in joining the Ecosystems Services Steering Group contact Simon Goldsmith (its Chair) s.t.goldsmith@gre.ac.uk. For further information about the group see footer of this page.

The University estate provides a rich living laboratory for staff and students to study and learn from. The University encourages all staff and students to explore the biodiversity of the estate and where possible seek to incorporate what can be learned from it within teaching and learning in addition to enjoying the beauty it provides. The University deliver a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes related to the biodiversity and conservation work we do.

There are plenty of initiatives to get involved in and habitats to enjoy around the University

Avery Hill Campus has the largest green areas, totalling over 13 acres. 37 animal species have thus far been recorded with 6 lists as vulnerable or red status. We have made improvements of hedgerows, the creation of ponds, flower meadows and planted native trees. Adaptations to plant management including mowing, trimming and pruning provides habitat and food for many species. If you would like to explore the campus then follow the Avery Hill Sustainability Trail.

Greenwich Campus includes the Grade 1 listed Maritime buildings, the new BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rated Stockwell Street development plus a scattering of other buildings closeby. Though the urban setting does have constraints on improving biodiversity, there are still a wealth of possibilities. We manage the land around Dreadnought in the same manner as Avery Hill, and the 14 landscaped roof gardens of Stockwell Street have a wide range of habitats including ponds, grasslands and edible growing spaces. This is the largest green roof space in the UK in just over 0.6 acres. 38 animals species are currently known on site.

The Medway Campus utilises ex naval buildings to deliver teaching, research and administrative space. Important areas for plants and wildlife include woodland and mature gardens and there are particular interventions in refurbishment programmes.

University of Greenwich Sustainability Blog