BESS Connect Subscription – the newsletter of the NERC BESS Directorate

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 Events

Welcome Trust are looking for ambassadors to kickstart conversations around our food, our health and our planet. You can find out more here… (https://thecrunch.wellcome.ac.uk/get-involved/ambassadors)

The Valuing Nature Programme is running a three-day Business Impact School to provide early career researchers with an opportunity to gain insight into producing research with business impact. Closing date is 5 February, 2016. Apply here… (https://ceh-online-surveys.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/business-impact-school-application-form)

** Welcome to

** The latest updates from the NERC Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Sustainability programme

** What is the evidence for benefits from increasing biodiversity in urban areas?
have produced a great video highlighting the contribution their research has made to understanding this important question. To watch – click the image below…

These findings link to a new initiative transforming urban sites into 200 hectares of habitat for pollinating insects. To find out more visit the Urban Buzz site here… (https://www.buglife.org.uk/urban-buzz)

** BESS publications highlight multiple benefits of biodiversity…

** Recent publications from BESS research have provided exciting new evidence from different environments on how biodiversity and species richness deliver important ecosystem services.

What is the Importance of species diversity for human wellbeing?
This has been addressed by the http://bess-urban.group.shef.ac.uk/paper-likeability-of-garden-birds/ team in a paper examining the evidence looking at garden birds. Read a summary here (http://www.nerc-bess.net/index.php/bess-blog/post/120-the-garden-bird-feeder-virtuous-circle) or to download the PLOS One paper here (http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0141505) …

** What contribution does plant diversity provide to erosion protection in wetlands?
researchers have published findings which demonstrates the link between biodiversity and erosion protection for one of the first times in a natural ecosystem setting. Read a summary here (http://synergy.st-andrews.ac.uk/cbess/2016/01/13/bangor-university-shoreline-resistance-to-erosion/) or to get the Journal of Vegetation Science paper her (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jvs.12367/abstract) e.. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jvs.12367/abstract) . (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jvs.12367/abstract)

** Time series data providing new insights on environmental change in the UK

** Warning signs of UK biodiversity declines
A new analysis of trends in UK biodiversity records have highlighted worrying trends. Tom Oliver (http://www.brc.ac.uk/user/tom-oliver) from commented “The picture that emerges is of an increasingly fragile system, particularly in species that do vital jobs for humans. Unless efforts are made to reverse some of these declines, we face a future where we will be less confident that we can effectively grow our food.”

Read a summary of the analysis here… (http://www.nerc-bess.net/index.php/bess-blog/post/178-biggest-analysis-of-british-nature-ever-rings-alarm-bells) or get the Nature Communications paper here… (http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2015/151208/ncomms10122/full/ncomms10122.html)

Meanwhile T-BESS (Temporal variation in Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) (http://www.nerc-bess.net/index.php/research/162-temporal-variation-in-biodiversity-and-ecosystem-service-delivery-in-grasslands-t-bess) revisited sites around Sheffield first surveyed in the 1960s to investigate biodiversity changes. Their in-depth findings support the Wessex-BESS evidence of worrying declines linked to land management, climate change, air pollution and grazing. Read more here… (http://www.nerc-bess.net/index.php/bess-blog/post/235-50-years-of-change-in-the-sheffield-region)

** Important scale effects for ecosystem models revealed
The best scale to use for modelling depends heavily on what kind of question or system is being investigated as well as the character of the underlying landscape. A new paper in Landscape Ecology from the team highlights this issue and the critical effects it can have on results. Read a summary (http://www.nerc-bess.net/index.php/bess-blog/post/218-determining-the-importance-of-scale-when-modelling-ecosystem-services-in-urban-areas) or access the full paper… (http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10980-015-0337-7)

** Engaging the Public
engaged with the public about current research as part of the The Dundee Science Festival. The team demonstrated the power of salt marshes as flood defences using a Lego saltmarsh and salt marsh plants. To find out more click here… (http://synergy.st-andrews.ac.uk/cbess/2015/11/20/university-of-st-andrews-mud-to-mammals/)


** Next Issue
Spring will be in the air once more – and BESS Connect will continue to synthesize the key findings emerging from BESS research.

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