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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

Research project: WISER: Which Ecosystem Service Models best capture the needs of the rural poor?

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This project aims to identify the minimum adequate ecosystem service models for policy questions related to poverty alleviation in sub-Saharan Africa.


Policy and interventions to manage and improve the provision of ecosystem services (ES) to the rural poor require accurate spatial information on ES and their use by people. Simplistic mapping

methods are likely to provide inaccurate and insufficient information. Process-based ES modelling frameworks have great potential to fill this knowledge gap, but the levels of model sophistication and data that are required to deliver policy-relevant information are poorly understood.

In WISER we will use novel approaches to identify what constitutes the simplest adequate ES modelling framework to inform policy and management interventions for poverty alleviation. We will achieve this with a project team that has expertise in a variety of ES modelling frameworks and access to data for a range of studies across sub-Saharan Africa. Our findings will determine the capabilities of current models for use in poverty alleviation and suggest paths for model improvement. The project website is at

This project is an international collaboration with four major partners. It is led by CEH Wallingford (Prof James Bullock (PI) and Dr Danny Hooftman); the other partners are Southampton (co-PI Felix Eigenbrod), the Basque Centre for Climate Change in Bilbao (Prof Ferdinando Villa) and CSIR in South Africa (Dr Belinda Reyers; Dr Patrick O’Farrell, and Prof Charlie Shackleton (Rhodes)).

Funding: NERC through the Espa programme ( Jan 2014 to September 2016


Related research groups

Environmental Biosciences
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