The topic of Ecosystem Services is a "Research flagship" at Aarhus University.
A "Research flagship" is an area where internationally recognized research of high quality is conducted. The Department of Environmental Science has three such research flagships.
Ecosystem services are the contributions that ecosystems make to human well-being, including provision of food and fiber, regulation of the biosphere and cultural services.
Integrating ecology, geography, economics and other social science disciplines increases the understanding of how environmental policies and management of ecosystems influences ecological processes and in turn the services humans derive.
Ecosystem services (ES) became popular with the Millennium ecosystem Assessment (MA, 2005). The framework for assessment developed a typology of services into four classes:
These denote the different ways in which ecosystems provide benefits to people.
Since 2005 national level ecosystem assessments have been undertaken, notably the British UKNEA (UK National Ecosystem Assessment), 2011.
European level initiatives are currently in progress under the MAES (Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services) process.
At the global level the IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) is the science-policy platform coordinating Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service knowledge.
The Danish initiatives have been coordinated under the MAESDK projects in collaboration between the Environmental Science Department at Aarhus University and the Department of Food and Natural Resources (IFRO) at Copenhagen University.
The research is based on expertise in the Department’s research groups for Environmental social science and Emission modelling and environmental geography, and is developed in national and international collaborations.
The general research focus of the “research flagship” is to:
The research initiative develops key concepts and methodologies in a range of ecosystem contexts: