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Catchment Futures
A Defra ecosystems services research project case study

Defra commissioned a range of research projects in 2006 to investigate the value that an ecosystems approach offers for sustainable natural resource management. Catchment Futures was one of these projects, a case study looking at the practical application of the approach in the River Parrett catchment.

See also Defra's web site for more information:

'Levels' drain © D. Tantram/Terra

The Parrett Catchment is located in Somerset, South West England. It was chosen because there is a very active catchment partnership (the Parrett Catchment Project) and widespread local acknowledgement that a range of interrelated issues affecting land use and quality of life need to be resolved as sustainably as possible.

The study critically examined how an Ecosystems Approach could be used within an English region at the catchment scale. For example, what new insights and opportunities could the approach reveal for making cost-effective natural resource protection more central to all kinds of planning, development, waste, energy and land management activities in the catchment?

Parrett Catchment Project

A future when it rains
Established in 2000, the Parrett Catchment Project (PCP) is a partnership initiative in response to numerous local problems arising from flooding. The PCP’s aim was to tackle conflicts between land and water management activities throughout the river’s catchment to resolve these problems. It is doing this by implementing the project’s 50 year vision and Strategy through a series of 10 year Action Plans to achieve integrated, sustainable land use planning and resource management. The mix of land and water management related activities now underway to implement the first Action Plan are successfully integrating water quality and water flows, farming practices, soil conservation and biodiversity enhancement perhaps more fully than in any other English river catchment. See more at

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