Water only flows downhill, and this natural process delineates one river from another at ‘catchment’ boundaries. The lands draining into rivers support their productivity and health, contributing to life support, well-being and prosperity. Changes to headwaters permeate downstream to estuaries and coastal systems.
DURESS results indicate that the benefits from rivers can be enhanced by managing whole river catchments sustainably and with downstream effects in mind. Taking account of how land can be best used for a range of ecosystem services could help maximise natural resource benefits from river catchments, balancing the needs of food and fibre production against the needs for biodiversity, water resources, carbon storage and landscape or heritage.