The MARS model

Our research is framed by the MARS conceptual model. It links the assessment of environmental risk, ecological status and ecosystem services.

  • Risk assessment addresses the magnitude of a stressor and identifies the consequences of exposure to it. The consequences are measured with indicators.
  • Assessment of ecological status fits centrally within the DPSIR-framework:
    Drivers (D, e.g. intense land use) cause pressures (P, e.g. nutrients) and affect water body state (S; e.g. ecological status or water quantity). This causes impacts on ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services, which may require a management response (R; e.g. restoration actions).
  • Ecosystem services are generally considered through the “cascade model” (Haines-Young & Potschin 2010), which links the capacity of ecosystems (i.e. their structures, processes and functions) to a specific service, which means benefits and values associated to human well-being.

Haines-Young, R., & Potschin, M. (2010). The links between biodiversity, ecosystem services and human well-being. In D. G. Raffaelli & C. L. J. Frid (Eds.), Ecosystem Ecology: a new synthesis (pp. 110–139). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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