Ecosystem services

Programme Leader(s): 

Our research aims to measure, restore and enhance ecosystem services (ES) or nature’s services in agriculture.

Ecosystem services and agriculture

ES are critical to the sustainable supply of food worldwide. ES include pollination, biological control of pests and weeds, soil formation and nutrient cycling. Modern intensive agriculture often relies on growing a single crop and using large inputs of energy, fertilisers and pesticides that can degrade ecosystem services.

Measuring ecosystem services

Measuring and enhancing the value of ES to New Zealand's farmers is vital for the future of world agriculture. This type of research is influencing the environmental and agricultural policies of governments worldwide. We collaborate with leading ecological economist Prof Robert Costanza, at the Australian National University in Canberra.

Enhancing ecosystem services

Research in the Centre is focussed on understanding ES in farmland and forestry and how ecological engineering can improve their impact.

Restoring or enhancing ES can improve biological control of plant pests or diseases, suppress weeds and reduce reliance on pesticides. This is important for our environment. These ideas reflect Māori knowledge and kaitiakitanga (guardianship) of the land.

We are working with industry partners on ES enhancement: