Growing population needs and changing climate will significantly alter catchment land-use and management in future. There may be thresholds of intensive use beyond which biodiversity or ecosystem services collapse, but our knowledge of these points of no return is rudimentary. Nor can we recognise the critical levels of biodiversity necessary to safeguard the services we all need against the tipping points that inevitably lie ahead.
DURESS is using environmental and biological data dating back 35 years from specific catchments (Llyn Brianne) and further afield to help understand the resilience features that may protect us against serious ecosystem damage. We are using these data to project whether species composition, ecosystem functions and even genetic character can be maintained and, if they are damaged, to understand the consequences. This work is vital to ensuring that future generations continue to benefit from the goods and services provided by river ecosystems.