A diverse range of ecosystem services are supplied by Scotland's rural sector’s stock of natural capital including biomass provision; carbon sequestration; flood regulation; regulation of air and water quality; and cultural services relating to people’s enjoyment of the landscape and wildlife.

Traditional provisioning ecosystem services have had priority over other cultural and regulating ecosystem services in the rural sector. However, there is an increasing recognition that a more balanced mix of ecosystem services are required to ensure we are getting the most out of our land, promoting sustainable development and wellbeing and supporting the green recovery outlined by Scottish Government. In line with this, a higher level of environmental conditionality is expected as part of any future rural sector support schemes, requiring the rural sector to invest in their natural capital.

Whilst payments for environmental benefits are not a new concept, research has found that lack of knowledge and misunderstandings in the rural sector have inhibited uptake of such schemes.

This project will provide the rural sector with resources and guidance on their natural capital and the ecosystem services they supply and will explore the management practices that can protect and enhance them.

Watch the video below for an introduction to the subject - there are factsheets and podcasts if you want to do a deep dive as well.

Introduction to Ecosystem Services


Agroforestry factsheet

Agroforestry is an integrated approach to land management, incorporating trees into farming systems. This factsheet shows how it can benefit land managers.

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Arable factsheet

Learn how to enhance your ecosystem services supplied by arable land.

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3D bufferstrips

3D buffers are riparian buffer strips and can be designed to build on and enhance the ecosystem services provided by standard buffers.

View factsheet


We suggest you subscribe to the SRUC podcast wherever you get your podcasts - here you can find links to the episodes related to ecosystem services.

3D Buffer Strips

Find out about how you can designate areas of land to 3D buffer strips.

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Learn about how agroforestry is an integrated approach to land management - and how it incorporates trees into farming systems.

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Listen and learn how to enhance your ecosystem services supplied by arable land.

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