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Investigating the impacts of climate change on ecosystem services in UK agro- ecosystems: An application of the DPSIR framework

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ellen MossORCiD, Professor Darren Evans



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Understanding how climate change will affect agro-ecosystems and the ecosystem services they provide is a significant global challenge. Investigating this topic requires a holistic approach that can capture the complexity of agro-ecosystems and assess impacts on the physical, biological, and socio- economic aspects of the system. The Drivers-Pressures-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) framework is a problem structuring method commonly used in environmental policy and management to collate and synthesise multidisciplinary evidence. By reviewing relevant literature and policy documents, we created a DPSIR framework characterising the impacts of climate change on some key ecosystem services directly generated by farmland biodiversity, using UK agriculture as a case study. We focussed on three groups of service providers: pollinators, pest regulators and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. We used the standard DPSIR framework to establish broad-scale relationships, before developing two extensions to the initial DPSIR, which together formed a novel three-step approach. The second step allowed detailed exploration of the cause-effect relationships between different features of the agro-ecosystem, including cascading impacts on ecosystem services. This process highlighted knowledge gaps relating to the impacts of climate change on species interactions and cultural services. The third step provided a visual summary of the expected directional trends for the different features of UK agro-ecosystems, based upon current evidence. This demonstrated negative impacts on biodiversity, soil quality, crop yields and a wide variety of ecosystem services and goods, which can only be addressed effectively with targeted policies. The novel three-step DPSIR approach developed here would be useful for modelling other complex systems where management is impeded by knowledge gaps and the availability of accessible syntheses of current evidence.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Moss ED, Evans DM, Atkins JP

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Land Use Policy

Year: 2021

Volume: 105

Online publication date: 12/03/2021

Acceptance date: 04/03/2021

Date deposited: 09/03/2021

ISSN (print): 0264-8377

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2021.105394


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