David McNeil

PhD researcher David McNeil.

Valuing ecosystem services

European Centre for Environment and Human Health

This project by European Centre for Environment and Human Health researcher David McNeil is looking to identify the benefits derived from ecosystem services on the Isles of Scilly and exploring how these can add value to local businesses on the islands.

The natural environment of the Isles of Scilly draws around 100,000 visitors every year but as with many island communities there is a need to innovate to meet future development challenges while also conserving the uniqueness of the local environment and way of life.

David has been working closely with the Duchy of Cornwall and the Council of the Isles of Scilly to look at how residents and tourists benefit from the environment in different ways and to identify possible outcomes for conservation alongside local skills and employment.

Consultations are taking place regarding a common strategy for sustainable tourism, conservation and rural livelihoods on the islands in the coming years.

David’s work points to the importance of maintaining less tangible benefits of the environment that underpin the natural wealth of the islands. It also suggests local knowledge can be a useful way of communicating the importance of poorly-understood processes and species to visitors and to promote a holistic understanding of conservation efforts.

This project builds on the National Ecosystem Assessment approach to ecosystems by applying its methods to the smaller geographical area of the Isles of Scilly.