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Why does 'good ecological status' matter?

Everard, Mark


Mark Everard
Associate Professor in Ecosystem Services


Achievement of 'good ecological status' under the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD), and various 'environmental outcomes' under other legislation and strategies, are accepted as important by environmental interests. However, support from the wider public may be largely altruistic. 'Ecosystem services' can better relate ecosystem health to societal benefits, helping communicate the advantages of achieving good status and securing support for environmental priorities. A series of ecosystem services case studies provides lessons about promoting public understanding of the benefits of achieving environmental targets. Framing desired WFD goals in terms of ecosystem service outcomes can optimise societal benefits proved by 'programmes of measures' and avert unintended consequences, compared with traditional, discipline-specific management approaches. It can also highlight potential contributions from ecosystem-based technologies to achieving multiple benefits across ecosystem service categories. 'Siloed' institutions and budgets are likely to perpetuate fragmented approaches unless explicit measures are taken to achieve more systemic outcomes. © 2011 The Author. Water and Environment Journal © 2011 CIWEM.


Everard, M. (2012). Why does 'good ecological status' matter?. Water and Environment Journal, 26(2), 165-174.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jun 1, 2012
Journal Water and Environment Journal
Print ISSN 17476585
Electronic ISSN 1747-6593
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 26
Issue 2
Pages 165-174
Keywords communication, public understanding,
ecosystem services, environmental outcomes,
good ecological status, public benefits, Water
Framework Directive
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This is the accepted version of the following article: Everard, M. (2012) Why does ‘good ecological status’ matter? Water and Environment Journal, 26 (2). pp. 165-174. ISSN 1747-6585, which has been published in final form at


Why does GES matter (2011-04-14 WEJ).doc (167 Kb)

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