Natural environment

The natural environment provides food, water, fuel, clean air and the services for creating and sustaining human life and well-being. Without healthy natural systems these benefits cannot be sustained, therefore it is essential that they are properly valued and managed.

Ecosystems are under threat from pollution, urbanisation and fragmentation as a result of human development and the services they provide are often not reflected in economic considerations. This problem is at the root of many of the ecosystem collapses being faced at a global level (such as deforestation and over-fishing). Natural systems must be managed in a balanced way to reflect their complexity and maximise the multiple benefits that can be attained through good planning and design and the correct use of scientific knowledge and best practice.

CIWEM’s work in this area includes themes such as biodiversity, geodiversity, landscape, soils, human interactions with the environment, ecosystem services, natural capital accounting, catchment based approaches, and how best to deliver key legislation and policy.


Networks and Groups working in relation to the natural environment are:

Natural Capital Network Rivers and Coastal Group


Read our in-depth reports on the natural environment:


A Place for SuDS?





thumbnail From Microbes to Mountains Green infrastructure Multifunctional Green Infrastructure


Policy Position Statements are available on the following related subjects:

Combating global deforestation Protecting and enhancing soils
The use of peat Deculverting of water courses
Arts and the Environment Faiths and the environment
The Catchment Based Approach in England Contaminated land
Wastewater biosolids – treatment and use Brownfield Development
Forestry and water management integration for multiple benefit  Microplastic pollution