Ecosystem services refer to the multitude of benefits that nature brings to society.

Agriculture, livestock, forestry and fisheries, among other economic sectors, benefit from and provide ecosystem services. These services make human life possible by generating nutritious food and clean water, regulating disease and climate, supporting crop pollination and soil formation, and providing recreational, cultural and spiritual benefits. Despite the importance of their assessment and management, they do not receive adequate attention in economic policies and regulations, meaning that not enough is invested in their planning and management.

At IHCantabria we develop projects and tools for the evaluation, protection and management of ecosystem services in terrestrial and aquatic environments worldwide.


We identify and characterize the natural and anthropogenic patterns and processes at different scales in continental and coastal areas occupied by the population and prone to the effects of global change.

We assess the current situation of ecosystem services generated by natural systems under different future scenarios. This analysis is carried out using spatial models that simulate natural patterns and processes and their relationship with the different factors of global change, such as climate change, changes in land use, alteration of the physical, chemical and biological properties of water or urban expansion.

We propose, develop and implement plans and management measures that reduce the risk of affecting the ecosystem supply, regulation or cultural services demanded by society in the different change scenarios. These measures are proposed and implemented in collaboration with governments, local communities and other agents involved in territorial management.

We provide training sessions with local agents and technical staff from governments and companies to determine and emphasize the use of spatial data as new methodologies and tools for transferring knowledge to society in terms of defining and managing ecosystem services. At IHCantabria we have provided training of this nature in countries such as Bahamas or Turkey.


Preparation of cartographic baselines of natural and anthropic patterns and processes in continental, littoral and coastal environments on different spatio-temporal scales

Analysis of cause-effect and mechanistic spatial relationships by means of numerical modeling

Modeling change dynamics in recent decades and generation of future climate and socioeconomic scenarios

Analysis of the vulnerability of areas affected by past or future changes to the sometimes conflicting demand for ecosystem services

Cultural uses.
Socioeconomic uses.
Environmental uses.
Conservational uses.

Development of change risk or land management maps in order to design group dynamics with local agents

Proposal and application of territorial planning and management measures

Optimization of the maintenance of certain ecosystem services in different global change scenarios.

Development of tools to aid in decision making

Technology transfer and training/dissemination courses or workshops



Its main objective is to promote sustainable investments in Blue and Green Infrastructures (BGI) by identifying the benefits of the Ecosystem Services provided at the land-water and land-sea interfaces in the Atlantic Region.
Saber Más


The objective of this project is to analyze the risk to Cantabrian estuaries from rising sea levels, focusing on the ecosystem services associated with them.
Saber Más


IHCantabria has carried out projects within the framework of national, European and international competitive and non-competitive calls (NATIONAL PLAN in Spain, INTERREG in Spain, France, United Kingdom and Portugal, COSTS, LITORAL…) as well as transfer projects in several countries of the world such as Bahamas, Turkey, among others.



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José manuel álvarez-martínez

Researcher || Expert in Ecosystem Services

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