TESSA: A toolkit for rapid assessment of ecosystem services at sites of biodiversity conservation importance

Kelvin S H Peh*, Andrew Balmford, Richard B. Bradbury, Claire Brown, Stuart H M Butchart, Francine M R Hughes, Alison Stattersfield, David H L Thomas, Matt Walpole, Julian Bayliss, David Gowing, Julia P G Jones, Simon L. Lewis, Mark Mulligan, Bhopal Pandeya, Charlie Stratford, Julian R. Thompson, Kerry Turner, Bhaskar Vira, Simon WillcockJennifer C. Birch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

154 Citations (Scopus)


Sites that are important for biodiversity conservation can also provide significant benefits (i.e. ecosystem services) to people. Decision-makers need to know how change to a site, whether development or restoration, would affect the delivery of services and the distribution of any benefits among stakeholders. However, there are relatively few empirical studies that present this information. One reason is the lack of appropriate methods and tools for ecosystem service assessment that do not require substantial resources or specialist technical knowledge, or rely heavily upon existing data. Here we address this gap by describing the Toolkit for Ecosystem Service Site-based Assessment (TESSA). It guides local non-specialists through a selection of relatively accessible methods for identifying which ecosystem services may be important at a site, and for evaluating the magnitude of benefits that people obtain from them currently, compared with those expected under alternative land-uses. The toolkit recommends use of existing data where appropriate and places emphasis on enabling users to collect new field data at relatively low cost and effort. By using TESSA, the users could also gain valuable information about the alternative land-uses; and data collected in the field could be incorporated into regular monitoring programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-57
Number of pages7
JournalEcosystem Services
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013


  • Climate regulation
  • Cultivated goods
  • Ecosystem-service tools
  • Harvested wild goods
  • Nature-based recreation
  • Water-related services


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