A revised version of the interactive Toolkit for Ecosystem Service Site-based Assessment (TESSA) was launched online today.
Ecosystems provide us with an extensive range of benefits such as the production of food, clean water, erosion control, climate regulation, places to enjoy nature and for spiritual practices. Research shows that loss of these services can have severe economic, social and environmental impacts. It is therefore important for us to better understand the benefits that ecosystems provide and to account for them in our decision-making.
TESSA, developed by a consortium and with input from over 150 experts, provides guidance and methods to value ecosystem services currently provided by sites compared to their likely provision under different management decisions, thus allowing the consequences of alternative management decisions to be assessed. It promotes the collection of locally-relevant field data and the combination of qualitative and quantitative data analysis.
The target users for TESSA are non-experts from an ecosystem services perspective, but technical practitioners who want to better understand and use ecosystem services data for informing site-based decisions. This includes for example: conservation practitioners, land use planners and businesses. TESSA has already been used by 16 BirdLife partners in Africa, Asia, South America, Caribbean and Europe.
With over 60 applications by conservation practitioners to date, the methods have been extensively piloted and revised accordingly. In Version 2.0 we have expanded the suite of services to include coastal protection, pollination services and cultural services.
“In the three years that TESSA has been available we have seen some excellent examples of influencing local decisions by people that have adapted the tool for their local context” Jenny Merriman, BirdLife’s Senior Ecosystem Services Officer and TESSA Coordinator”.
“By adding these new modules, we have made TESSA better able to capture the benefits that sites provide, such as cultural services, not included by many other ecosystem services tools” she added.
The development of TESSA is a collaborative initiative between Anglia Ruskin University, BirdLife International, RSPB, Tropical Biology Association, UNEP-WCMC and the University of Cambridge. Production of V2.0 was funded by the OPERAs project and supported by studentships at the University of Southampton and University of Cambridge. This builds on previous funding from other sources. TESSA is an evolving resource and, subject to continued funding, more improvements will be added in future versions.
Find out more about TESSA here
Download TESSA here