Annex A: PROJECT SPECIFICATION

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Annex A:
PROJECT SPECIFICATION


Project title


Spatial framework for assessing evidence needs for operational Ecosystem
Approaches



Competition Code:


Date for return of tenders:

Thursday
1
6
th


February
201
2

at
16.00hrs

Address for tender submission:

(
the Competition Code must be shown
on the email title and the tender,
otherwise your tender may not be
accepted)

Please send bids in electronic format, to
this email address:

TenderResponse@jncc.gov.uk




L
arge files should be zipped.

Number of copies required:

Electronic format only.

Contact for information relating to this
project specification:

Name:
Linda Birkin or
Helen
Baker

Tel no:
01733
-
866871

or 866820

e
-
mail:
linda.birkin@jncc.gov.uk
;
Helen.baker@jncc.gov.uk


Proposed ownership of Intellectual
Property:

JNCC

Proposed start
-
date (if known):

February
201
2

Proposed end
-
date (if known):

May
2012


Proj
ect Specification


1.

Research aims and objectives


T
o aid the practical quantification and valuation of ecosystem services
for

a range of
decision
making
processes
at local, landscape and country levels

and in doing so inform ongoing
development of UK
-
level
biodiversity data
collection surveys and
schemes and
data
access
provision.


To achieve this
,

develop
a
spatial
framework

approach
, based on an initial JNCC
concept,
which

identifies
the biodiversity
-
related information
that is
needed to undertake
ecosyste
m
service quantification at different scales.

The framework will link
measurable habitat
attributes to service provision
.



2.

Background


2.1.

General
background

The environment and biodiversity strategies of each
o
f the countries of the UK have been or
are cu
rrently under revision in response to global and EU biodiversity policy change, in
particular the CBD Str
ate
gic Goals 2010
-
2020 and associated Aichi targets.

The EU
Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 establishes actions related to ecosystem mapping and
assessm
ent of the state of ecosystems and their services to enable maintenance and
restoration.

The

country strategy
reviews
reflect
a key policy change
:

identification of the
ecosystem approach and in particular ecosystem services as a way to help inform land
,
water

and sea management.

The
UK National Ecosystem Assessment (NEA)
1

published in June 2011 was the first
independent assessment of the state and trends in
the
UK’s ecosystems and the benefits
they
provide to society and the economy. The NEA provides a

substantial evidence base of
the services
that

nature
provides

(ecosystem services or ES)
,

how these have changed over
the past

decades
, prospects for the future and the
benefits
of these to society.

The

E
S

cascade


shown below
illustrates

the provision
of benefits
to society
by natural
systems. Ecosystems can be described in terms of their biophysical attributes (the biotic and
physical characteristics of the system, such as pH, slope, soil porosity). These attributes
determine what ecosystem processes

oc
cur in that system (e.g.
throughflow of water). The
processes of an ecosystem
influence

the functions of that system (
e.g. water quantity
regulation
)
, and the ecosystem services

and
goods

from that system

potentially
usable by
humans (e.g. flood risk r
eduction).


E
S

cascade



examples from peatland ecosystems



Biophysical
attributes
(biotic

and
physical characteristics of the ecosystem)





Biophysical

or
ecosystem processes

(
e.g.
primary productivity
)






Function

(e.g. Carbon
cycling in biomass
)







Ecosystem service

(e.g. Carbon sequestration)








Benefits
or
Goods

(e.g. reduction in atmospheric C)










Value

(e.g.
marketable carbon

credit)


There are some fairly robust conceptual models now available to link ecosystem services
and their va
luation to biodiversity. The next step therefore appears to be to link these
models to practical ways of quantifying biodiversity and its functional contribution to services.


There is a
significant
amount of work underway
in this area
:

ongoing
pilots a
nd case studies

by various stakeholders, including the
country agencies
;

development of
operational markets
or systems for paying for
ecosystem
services
,

deployed
for example by water companies;
and
various
research projects.

It is timely to explore how e
xisting and new evidence could
be used in development of operational ecosystem approaches, especially relating to
ecosystem services and their valuation.


2.2.

Evidence background

Critical to the implementation of the
ecosystem approach

is evidence on
the
ecos
ystems

goods and services produced and
how these respond
to drivers of change.
Such

evidence
includes data from monitoring and surveillance of biodiversity alongside
other data and
knowledge of
ecosystem processes and functioning

from research
.



In respo
nse to the NEA, research funders like Defra, Scottish Government and NERC have
established a number of initiatives to further develop evidence
and models to
support an
ecosystem approach
, including characterisation and valuation of ecosystem services
. The

research landscape can be summarised as in Figure 1 (Defra):




1

http://uknea.unep
-
wcmc.org/

FIG
URE

1





Within the UK
,

the research being undertaken by Defra and Scottish Government and
through the NERC BESS programme and Valuing Nature Network
research
calls
will not only
improv
e understanding of ecosystem processes and functions, but should also provide
valuable data for assessing the status of ecosystems

and

service flows.
At a European level,
t
he EU project BiodivERsA has also funded
seven
pan
-
European research projects on EA

that could
also
make an important contribution

to the evidence base.


O
ne of the key constraints in producing the NEA was the availability of biodiversity data to
describe ecosystems, assess
their
condition and change, and characterise the goods and
servi
ces originating from them. Alongside the research activities currently underway through
the initiatives shown in Figure 1, there is a need to take stock of
the basic currency for
making ecosystem approaches operational and monitoring their benefits and imp
acts
, that is,

data on biodiversity
.


There
are benefits from
assess
ing

the kinds of evidence that will be required
for
assessments of ecosystem services and their valuation
in each country of the UK
.
This
should include a review of
where information can
be used
in a
general way

to provide
evidence for ecosystem service valuation at a range of spatial scales
,
i.e. transferability,
and
what data requirements are common across the range of operational tools under

development
.

This will allow suppliers of bi
odiversity data to better understand likely needs
and develop options for meeting those needs
, and for users to access more complete
information to support decision
-
making
.


JNCC’s goal is to aid the practical quantification and valuation of ecosystem ser
vices in
a
range of
decision making
processes
at local, landscape and country levels

and in doing so
inform ongoing development of UK level biodiversity data
collection surveys and
schemes
and
data
access provision
.
To do this w
e
have developed a framewor
k

concept
to
identify
the biodiversity
-
related information
that is
needed to undertake
ecosystem
service
quantification at different scales.

The framework
idea
has been based around the concepts
(and examples) of ecosystem services and habitat types defin
ed in the
NEA
.
A summary of
this framework
concept and an example of the data gathering approach it
c
ould stimulate
are
included in the attachments to this specification; the key concepts are:




Use of digital polygon
-
based datasets to
assess

biophysical a
ttributes of habitat
polygons, utilising existing datasets
;



Determination of the
ecosystem processes
occurring in these polygons as indicated
by
the
ir

biophysical attributes

and the effects of connected polygons
;



Identif
ication of
the provision of ecosyste
m services
by

the
processes
operating within
the polygons
;



T
hus
linking
measurable habitat attributes to service provision.


The framework
approach
to

be
developed

through this project

will use

information
from

pilots

and
case studies, markets, and
ecologi
cal
research
.

Its
form will be driven by the practical
needs of service quantification at different scales.
The project is not designed to create an
inventory of attributes: i
ts value

is

in
setting out a logical process that would aid the
identification a
nd
appropriate use of biodiversity data in
ecosystem services
quantifications

and

valuation
.


3.

Detailed requirements


Given the range of ecosystem services identified in the NEA and the surrounding literature,
and thus the need for a holistic approach, the

objectives of this project
will require integration
of
physical,
ecological

and
soci
etal

knowledge
.


As this
is
a very broad task,
the project may choose to focus
the
develop
ment of

the
fra
mework b
y

either
:



Considering
a small number of
major habitat type
s
2

(e.g. grassland
, woodland,
freshwaters
)
, but taking into account
the
full
NEA framework of services
,
or
;



Considering
the
major

services

in terms of predicted value

and

currently available
data (
i.e.

carbon sequestration, water
quality, water
quantity re
gulation,
agricultural
goods, forestry goods, cultural and recreation services
)

for
a larger range of
habitats
.



Objective
1
:
-

Develop
ment of

the framework

concept



To develop
the

spatial

framework
approach
by integration of
physical
, biological
and soc
ial
data sets and models to quantify
ecosystem
services. This objective will cover the

refinemen
t of JNCC’s original framework

concept
,
and also

determine how attribute
s

should
be defined
,
quantified
and used throughout the project.

Key tasks would includ
e:




To refine the conceptual model behind the framework

approach
;



To determine the usefulness of habitat
-
classified polygons in providing generic
baseline attribute values for a polygon or grid cell, taking into consideration
connectivity with adjacent pol
ygons or grid cells;



To determine how best to account for variation in attributes due to habitat condition
and bio
-
geographical location;




2

An upland heathland or a peatland example should not be

chosen as there are already well
developed projects on these habitats.



Based on current
knowledge
, t
o determine
a method to identify
which biophysical
attributes have
the most significant
effect on the provision of ecosystem services at a
polygon
or

grid (1km
2
or finer) scale
;



To establish through practical testing

the way in which
real
habitat information
c
ould
fit with and alter the practical models used to quantify services operationally

(e
.
g
.

carbon sequestration, water quality regulation)
.



Objective
2
:
-

P
ractical application of the
framework, and its use at differing spatial
scales


T
o determine how the framework
approach could
work at different spatial scales and types of
applicatio
n

and what level of regionalisation may be needed
, as it is anticipated that
consideration of
separat
e

of bio
-
geographical zones is likely to be required
.


The assessment should identify commonali
ty and divergence in approaches, particularly with
regard to

way in which habitats and biophysical data are used spatially, the attributes use
d
,
and the
data requirements for application of an ecosystem services approach to decision
-
making in the countries of the UK.


The asse
ss
ment should
e
xamin
e

the use of
eviden
ce, hence the
potential
role of the
framework,
at

different scales of

applications
.

The quality and quantity (as appropriate) of
stocks and flows of various ecosystem services should be assessed for one or more areas
(taken to be a mosaic of connected habi
tat polygons).

Various applications of an ecosystem
services approach should be explored, such as identification of best place to fit management
for a specific policy action, best way to derive a specific service outcome or best way to
improve the general
level of services provided (see summary document for more
information).


Objective
3
:
-

Understanding the use of biodiversity
d
ata
for

ecosystem service
valuation

using
the

s
patial
f
ramework

approach



This objective will
elucidate the ways in which biodiv
ersity data have been used in ecosystem
service approaches and help identify gaps in data provision
, based on the possible use of the
refined framework approach
.
D
ra
wing from country pilot studies, other case studies
(including ecologically relevant EU st
udies), research, current tools
and other sources
of
information

a review should
e
stablish where practical application of ecosystem system
service quantification

and
valuation is

currently

con
strained by inadequate information,
and
to
determine priorities
for developing

biological recording to better meet this need
.

The
following elements should be considered:




A general assessment of the ways in which studies have used biological data,
including to both directly and indirectly quantify services;



Methods
us
ed
to account for bio
-
geographical variation, including checks of
representativeness of data and transferability;



An assessment of
the
sources of biodiversity data

used in the studies
, for example
whether local data were used, sourced from published papers
, source
d

via the
National Biodiversity Network, or from UK surveys and schemes (a description of
some of the data sources for biodiversity is available at
http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/page
-
3713
).




4.

Timetable


The
tender

should outline its proposed timetable
for taking forward the research outlined
,
including the
key milestones.
The
agreed pro
ject

will commence in
mid to
late
Fe
bruary
2012 to be completed by
the end of
May
2012
.


Suggested milestones include:



Initial start up steering group meeting (
mid

to
late
February)



Interim report and 2
nd

steering group meeting (
e
arly April
)



Draft final report and 3
rd

steering group meeting (
e
arly May
)



Final report (
end
May

2012
)


5.

Outputs

and publication


Key outputs include an interim report and a final report
, which
should be written in plain
English
.
The
final report
should
be
in Word to allow editing
and
contain a non
-
technical
executive summary of not more than
two

pages
containing headline results
and key
messages that can be widely disseminated.

The refined fra
mework
concept
and worked
examples should be provided in an Excel spreadsheet, with explanatory notes included.
Associated GIS outputs should be

provided in file types that are compatible with ESRI
software. Additional technical annexes can be provided if
necessary. Either the final report
or the technical annexes should contain clear references to all research that provides data
enabling the functions or processes, and their impact on services, to be quantified.



I
t is
JNCC
policy to publish all final pr
oject reports

and seek opportunities to publish and
disseminate project findings amongst key stakeholders
; this is typically done via electronic
media.



6.

Programme of Work


Bidders are invited
to propose a programme of work designed to meet the project obj
ectives,
output requirements and timetable.
A
nticipated difficulties or constraints in meeting the
deliverables outlined
should be detailed along with
propose
d

solutions for overcoming these.


7.

Project Team


Bidders need to demonstrate that the project te
am have the
appropriate skills and expertise
to successfully carry
-
out the project.
The proposal should include details of

the
:



t
rack record in managing and successfully completing research of the type proposed,
including references;



key members of the
proposed team for delivering the programme of work; and their
respective rol
es and relevant experience

(short CVs
for those undertaking the work
should be supplied)
.


Any sub
-
suppliers or associates who may be employed to undertake any sections of the
rese
arch should be separately identified, along with their respective roles and how they will
be managed.
T
he main supplier will be responsible for the delivery of any sub
-
suppliers.


8.

Management


Bidders should
identify individuals who will manage the resear
ch and to nominate a
representative for day
-
to
-
day contact with the
JNCC
project
team
.

In addition to the s
pecific
outputs requested above
, the
tender
should highlight how it
is
intended to keep
the JNCC
project team
informed of progress as the project pr
ogresses.



9.

Price, Fee schedule and Payments


The
tender
needs to provide an

all
-
inclusive price for the contract
.
B
idders
are requested
to
provide information on daily rates, overheads and other related costs for carrying out the
work. Costs of tendering

should not be counted as project costs.
Payments are expected to
be made according to key milestones
linked to interim and final reporting
(
proposals can be
made
in the tender and, once a tender is successful,
will be
agreed with the
JNCC
project
officer)
.



10.

Quality


T
enders must display a good understanding of the issues involved. They should also have the
ability to edit and present written material in a clear, concise and informative style. Tenders will
provide
a quality assurance plan

that demonstrates

how the quality of inputs and outputs will
be ensured.
V
iews on the main risks and obstacles to the successful completion of the
project
should be set out
and the steps
to
address them

outlined
.



11.

Tender Evaluation Criteria

The successful tender will b
e that considered the most economically advantageous

(best value
for money)
; the following criteria will be used to
assess

all tenders

(figures in parentheses
indi
cate evaluation weightings)
:


The Criteria are:



Quality of proposal

(40%)



Understanding of
requirements and relevance



C
lear deliverables

and work

plan




Likelihood
of success

in delivering research outputs

Details of contractor

(20%)



Expertise, experience and balance of team



P
roject planning and management
, identification and management of proble
ms/risks



P
ast experience with contractor
, including reliability

(quality and delivery)



Cost

(30%)



R
easonable & competitive costs



Communication (10%)



P
lans for
re
porting and
disseminat
ion of results
, including production of summary
reports for different

audiences (these audience should be identified)




JNCC Support Co.

The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) is the statutory adviser to

the UK
Government and devolved administrations on UK

and international nature conservation. Its
work contribute
s to maintaining and enriching biological diversity, conserving geological
features and sustaining natural systems.



JNCC delivers the UK and international responsibilities of the Council for Nature
Conservation and the Countryside (CNCC), the Countryside

Council for Wales (CCW),
Natural England, and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). The functions that arise from these
responsibilities are principally to:





advise Government

on the development and implementation of policies for, or
affecting, nature conser
vation in the UK and internationally;



provide advice and disseminate knowledge on nature conservation issues affecting
the UK and internationally;



establish common standards throughout the UK for nature conservation, including
monitoring, research, and t
he analysis of results;



commission or support research which it deems relevant to these functions.



The Committee comprises 14 members: a Chairman and five independent members
appointed by the Secretary of State; the Chairman of CNCC; the Chairmen or de
puty
Chairmen of CCW, Natural England and SNH; and one other member from each of these
bodies.




JNCC, originally established under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, was reconstituted
by the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. Sup
port is provided to the
JNCC by a company limited by guarantee (JNCC Support Co) that the Committee
established in 2005.