1307: Ecosystems - drivers

This paper summarises the second of the key questions addressed by the National Ecosystem Assessment ‘What are the drivers causing changes in the UK’s ecosystems and their services?

Year of Publication2011

The primary drivers of degradation in UK ecosystem services have been conversion of natural habitats to farmland and their intensification, exploitation of natural resources, air and aquatic pollution, especially nitrogen, sulphur and phosphorus and to a lesser extent climate change, and invasive species, including plant pests and animal diseases. These drivers have largely been influenced by an increasing and ageing population, the economic liberalization of trade, increased mechanisation and use of agrochemicals, policy changes and reform and behavioural changes, especially consumption patterns. The EU Rural Development Programme and the Water Framework Directive have led to significant improvements in ecological status.

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