Latest news from the NERC BESS programme
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Our landscapes need to be managed appropriately to ensure the sustainable delivery of benefits to society such as clean water, food production and flood protection. Currently we do not truly understand the linkages between biodiversity within landscapes and services flows. Without this knowledge we are managing our landscapes under great uncertainty.
Biodiversity & Ecosystem Service Sustainability (BESS) is a six-year (2011-2017) NERC research programme, designed to reduce that uncertainty. It will answer fundamental questions about the functional role of biodiversity in key ecosystem processes at the landscape scale and how these are likely to change in an uncertain future.
Our aim is to provide an improved evidence base for those managing our landscapes so they are in a much better position to make decisions about the inevitable trade-offs required to ensure our sustainable futures.
** Upcoming BESS Events
A reminder that applications for the CBESS NERC funded advanced training course – Biodiversity & Ecosystem Service Assessment in the Coastal Margin (BESA) (http://synergy.st-andrews.ac.uk/cbess/training/besa/) – closes on 14th November. A detailed course outline can be found here (http://synergy.st-andrews.ac.uk/cbess/files/2013/10/BESA-Course-Outline_students1.pdf) .
** Welcome to BESS-Connect!
** The latest updates from the NERC Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Sustainability programme
Laura Harrison (BESS Engagement Officer) talks about the exciting development of the programmes Early Career Researchers Network (http://www.nrgbess.net/)
** BESS experiments yielding valuable new data
Over the summer field season the BESS consortia experiments have been delivering valuable information on different aspects of ecosystems services and their relationships to biodiversity.
The Eddy Covariance team (http://synergy.st-andrews.ac.uk/cbess/science/progress-report/university-of-st-andrews/) at the University of St Andrews have had a busy summer collecting CO2 flux data to better understand the response of saltmarsh vegetation to different light levels. Read more here. (http://synergy.st-andrews.ac.uk/cbess/fieldwork-update-from-the-eddy-covariance-team/)
Meanwhile, large artificial habitat experiments have been investigating a variety of land management scenario effects on ecosystem functions.
The team have been hard at work extracting dissolved organic carbon data from their artificial upland cascading channels (http://nerc-duress.org/?p=2247) in a mammoth 24 hour –fifteen person combined effort.
The members of the Cambridge Coastal Research Unit (http://www.ccru.geog.cam.ac.uk/) , together with a team of researchers from Germany and the Netherlands, have conducted the largest-ever laboratory experiment to investigate how waves are dissipated by coastal salt marshes during storms. Click here for the update (http://synergy.st-andrews.ac.uk/cbess/largest-ever-saltmarsh-flume-experiment/) by Iris Möller (http://www.geog.cam.ac.uk/people/moeller/) .
** Why BESS findings are important for policy…
A recent journal paper in Bioscience (http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org/) led by Patricia Balvanera (http://ww2.oikos.unam.mx/CIEco/comunidades/) (available here (http://bio.wits.ac.za/APES7000_2014/Mograbi/Papers/Balvanera%20et%20al%202014%20BioScience.pdf) ) highlights the gaps in our understanding of the interactions between biodiversity and ecosystem services that the BESS programme is contributing towards filling. The authors stress the need for better information – but under realistic land management scenarios – to inform theIntergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) (http://ipbes.net/about-ipbes.html) policy processes.
An example of the contribution BESS is making is given by the team who have been undertaking cutting-edge science on ecosystem services on Welsh rivers helping to reveal how biodiversity keeps rivers running in more ways than one… read more here (https://storify.com/SteveOrmerod/cutting-edge-science-on-river-ecosystem-services?utm_content=storify-pingback&awesm=sfy.co_jw9B&utm_source=t.co&utm_campaign=&utm_medium=sfy.co-twitter)
** Farming and flourishing wildlifehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2wMk1s4dyc
a three year project whose mission is to transform the river Torridge catchment for wildlife and people have produced a
film (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2wMk1s4dyc) with local farmers explaining how the NIA is helping them to manage their land in more wildlife friendly ways and the additional benefits of this change (including economic) they perceive. To find out more about the project click here (http://www.northerndevonnia.org/) .
** New BESS Reports on the importance of Cultural Ecosystem Services
have begun publishing
findings (http://www.brc.ac.uk/wessexbess/sites/www.brc.ac.uk.wessexbess/files/cultural%20benefits%20of%20biodiversity%20workshop%20full%20report.pdf) from their engagement activities aimed at identifying indicators to measure the linkages between biodiversity and cultural ecosystem services. A summary of their most recent workshop with nature-sector professional stakeholders can be found here (http://www.brc.ac.uk/wessexbess/sites/www.brc.ac.uk.wessexbess/files/EKN%20CES%20biod%20indicators%20workshop%20summary.pdf) .
BESS PhD Updates
Our BESS Next Generation Researchers have been updating their Blogs and webpages. Lydia Bach (http://synergy.st-andrews.ac.uk/cbess/managment/phd-students/lydia-bach/) provides news (http://synergy.st-andrews.ac.uk/cbess/managment/phd-students/lydia-bach/cbess-field-campaign-backlog-and-new-sites/) on how her work on food webs in inter-tidal coastal areas is progressing. Cai Ladd (http://synergy.st-andrews.ac.uk/cbess/managment/phd-students/cai-ladd/) talks about his experiences (http://synergy.st-andrews.ac.uk/cbess/managment/phd-students/cai-ladd/anecdotes/) researching the ecological resilience of saltmarshes. James Tempest (http://synergy.st-andrews.ac.uk/cbess/managment/phd-students/james-tempest/) describes how his work will improve our understanding of the wave and tidal flow reduction caused by saltmarsh vegetation.
** Stakeholders admire new exhibition
Cardiff University hosted an exhibition of high quality artistic photographs and 3D videos of future land use scenarios. Stakeholders from policymaking, NGOs and industry representatives were treated to a preview of the exhibition that will tour the country in the coming months. Check the website (http://nerc-duress.org/) for details…
** Calls for better information about the forest–agriculture interface to aid development
The Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation Programme (http://www.espa.ac.uk/) report on an interview (http://www.trust.org/item/20140923051919-nph7j/) with Cheryl Palm (http://agriculture.columbia.edu/about-us/people-at-agcenter/full_time_staff/cpalm/) , a Senior Research Scientist and Director of Research at the Agriculture and Food Security Center at Columbia University (http://agriculture.columbia.edu/) – where she highlights that there have been very few measurements taken on the different ecosystem services and their connections at the forest-agriculture divide. This could be crucial for delivering some of the new UN Sustainable Development Goals (http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/?menu=1300) .
** Next Issue
All the latest BESS news including our most up-to-date findings…
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