Economic value drives the industries that manage uplands, for example, forestry, farming, water quality, fish production and even recreation. However, some of the benefits we gain from upland rivers do not have an immediate monetary value which has sometimes resulted in their degradation.
DURESS aims to quantify the value of river ecosystem services, in particular those that are sustained by river biodiversity. We have interviewed 1200 people living and working in upland communities about how they value ecosystem services provided by upland rivers. Initial analysis suggests people most highly value management that improves water quality and that reduces the health risks from contact with river water. The next step in the analysis is to better understand people’s motivations for valuing river ecosystem services and also to explore the value of alternative river catchment management scenarios.