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About the project

The Social, Economic and Environmental Research project into Multi-Objective Land Use Decision Making (SEER), sought to fundamentally improve option analysis and policy formation with respect to any area of decision making linked to the natural environment.


What does the work cover?

The SEER model addresses drivers of land use and the wider impacts of land use changes.

Drivers of land use include market, policy and environmental drivers and the impacts include farm income, water quality; carbon balance and greenhouse gas emissions; effects on water and terrestrial ecology and biodiversity and impact on recreation.

The SEER project does not simply study each of these components separately: SEER aims to bring together the various systems into an integrated whole. The integrated model (SEER model) will allow us to see how changes in one system propagate changes through the other systems.

Many of the challenges facing the team in constructing an integrated model have been related to making sure that all the inputs are in a common format so that the component parts are able to function.

The SEER work contributed to the first National Ecosystem Assessment and is continuing to contribute to the on-going work of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment by examining the impacts of land use change upon agriculture, woodlands, the water environment and all of the other systems mentioned above. Its ultimate objective is to provide decision makers with methods for improving and perhaps even optimising the use of land in the UK.


The SEER project sought to directly address that complexity by looking at the major impacts which occur when land use policy is altered.

By applying advanced analysis techniques to highly detailed datasets comprising spatially detailed information gathered over extended periods, the project examines the multiple effects which occur when land use changes. 

Specifically it looked at the effects upon:

  • Food production
  • Farm incomes
  • Greenhouse gases
  • Water pollution
  • Habitat and ecological effects
  • Biodiversity
  • Outdoor recreation


Contact: Sivlia Ferrini



Economic and Social Research Council