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

Moss, Ellen D.; Evans, Darren M.; Atkins, Jonathan P.


Ellen D. Moss

Darren M. Evans


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.


Moss, E. D., Evans, D. M., & Atkins, J. P. (2021). Investigating the impacts of climate change on ecosystem services in UK agro-ecosystems: An application of the DPSIR framework. Land use policy, 105, Article 105394.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 4, 2021
Online Publication Date Mar 12, 2021
Publication Date 2021-06
Deposit Date May 7, 2021
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal Land Use Policy
Print ISSN 0264-8377
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 105
Article Number 105394
Keywords Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi; Food security; Insect pest regulation; Multidisciplinary approach; Pollination; Problem structuring method
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