In recent years the concept of ‘ecosystem services’, or benefits from nature, has gained prominence in decision-making, ranging from the Convention on Biological Diversity Aichi Target, to the EU Biodiversity Strategy and the new Biodiversity Strategy for Scotland. The ecosystem services concept is seen by many as a useful paradigm to support decision-making at the complex interface between science, policy and practice. However, to be successful it requires a strong willingness for collaboration and joint understanding.


ESCom Community

ESCom is an inclusive and open community with a wide constituency spread across Scotland. We have members and partners from across National Government, local authorities, government agencies, research organisations and universities, NGO's and private sector companies, including SME's.  

ESCom Central

ESCom Central is the governing body of ESCom.  Chaired by Dr Marc Metzger, ESCom Central exists to facilitate outreach and knowledge exchange, and to ensure that ESCom thrives as an inclusive network representative of science, policy and practice.  Who's involved

ESCom Structure

ESCom is broadly organised into four main Process areas, although these are fluid and interlinked in their aim to answer policy and practice needs.  


Evaluating the uptake of new policy instruments and managment strategies is crucial for refinement and measuring success against policy targets.  Understanding the uptake of the ecosystem service concept and evaluating real world examples is fundamental to advancing practical knowledge of the concept in Scotland.  This process area looks at how policy related to the ecosystem service concept plays out in practice. 

Contact  Uptake@escom.scot

This process area contributes to decision-making, translating information into knowledge to support the real decision problems common to natural resources.  We aim to provide a coherent overview of the current understanding about ecosytem services and any potential knowledge gaps, to address the barriers to decision-making, and to identfiy relevant decision support tools.  

Contact  Knowledgesupport@escom.scot

Safeguarding and building (i.e., managing) natural capital to deliver ecosystem services and sustain multiple benefits for people and nature is a key aim of both the Land Use Strategy and Scottish Biodiversity Strategy.  This group is interested in understanding the enablers of and barriers to the integration of natural capital and ecosystem services thinking into policy, and its practical implementation 'on the ground'.

Contact  policyinstruments@escom.scot

This process area focuses on tools that assist with modelling ecosystem services, and with the engagement between researchers and practitioners, decision makers or members of the public.  This area aims to raise awareness of tools that are currently available in Scotland and elsewhere, and how they are being used.  The Data & Information Tools group will coordinate with areas dealing with scenarios and decision support, will promote collaboration and discussion among members, organise workshops, and provide opportunities for joint work and publications.

Contact datainformation@escom.scot

  • Uptake & Evaluation

  • ​Knowledge & Decision Support

  • Policy Instruments

  • Data & Information Tools

ESCom Partners

The following organisations and projects actively support ESCom through membership of ESCom Central and, in some cases, by providing financial support for activities.