Ecosystem Approach & DPSWR

The Ecosystem Approach to Management is central to the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and can be defined as:

"a resource planning and management approach what integrates the connections between land, air, water all living things, human beings their activities and institutions".

To understand the connections between the environment and human societies we use the Driver Pressure State Welfare Response (DPSWR) approach. Scroll Down to read more about this.

Click here to read a policy brief describing the origins of the ecosystem approach.

Three main characteristics of the approach are:

  • It has a multisectoral focus
  • It includes ecosystem services in decision making
  • It recognises the tight coupling between social and ecological systems

Driver Pressure State Welfare Response

DPSWR, the Driver Pressure State Welfare Response Framework is a systematic way of looking at environmental problems. The DPSWR components encompass both the human (shown in blue) and ecological (shown in green) parts of social-ecological systems:

Drivers are the economic and social forces that result from government policies, markets and the activities of private industry.

Pressures are the ways these drivers place demands upon ecosystems.

State changes are the changes in the ecosystem resulting from the Pressures and these in turn can result in changes to ecosystem services and human Welfare.

The Response to a particular problem may be directed towards any of the other elements (D,P,S or W) to achieve a balance between the benefits of economic and social development and the ecosystem costs.

The DPSWR framework is described in detail in our policy brief. Click here