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

EKN Conference: Building Prosperous Cities The role of natural capital and green infrastructure

27th September 2016 9.30am – 5pm
City Hall, London

The conference will address questions such as: What is the added value of ‘natural capital’ and ‘green infrastructure’ for city-scale planning, design and management? How do we involve urban citizens and secure investment to enhance the green infrastructure required for prosperous cities?

Click here (http://www.nerc-bess.net/index.php/news-and-events/255-ekn-conference-building-prosperous-cities-the-role-of-natural-capital-and-green-infrastructure) for more information and booking…

** Welcome to

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

Future UK uplands
held their end of grant event at the Welsh Assembly Pierhead in Cardiff Bay during December to share their research findings key learned. This included a new video highlighting the options for our uplands futures. Click here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdDa8hcqKwg) to watch now…

** Can we quantify the value of cultural services?
Ongoing experiments and analysis undertaken by BESS researchers is gathering new evidence on the cultural, health and well-being benefits that different ecosystems provide.

have carried out 550 interviews with the public to investigate their interactions with and preferences for our lowland agricultural landscapes. This includes understanding how they derive benefits from these places. The team are still collecting data on landscape preferences using an online mapping survey – take part by clicking here (http://www.ppgis.manchester.ac.uk/bess/) …

have been looking at the cultural services of saltmarshes for their study areas of Morecambe Bay and Essex estuaries. Using a mix of methods (choice experiments, ranking in questionnaires and interviews, interactive workshops and mapping) monetary and non-monetary benefits different stakeholders get from these environments are being investigated.
An interim finding is that 1.2 million hours of recreational activity per annum are associated with these coastal habitats in Essex alone. The team continue to explore their data to explain the interactions between ecology,society and the underpinning biodiversity. Read more here (http://synergy.st-andrews.ac.uk/cbess/2016/04/22/university-of-st-andrews-cultural-ecosystem-services/) …
In a complementary project to BESS a University of York social scientist (Hannah Curzon) is developing novel methods to understand the social value of moorlands.

The Humberhead Peatlands National Nature Reserve (NNR) in South Yorkshire is currently the focus of a major EU LIFE+ funded project (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/395664/humberhead-peatlands-leaflet.pdf) coordinated by Natural England to restore the peat bog. An assessment of the social impact of the restoration work will also be undertaken – partly through an online survey you can participate in here… (https://york.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_ebXpX0I55Jcv3Df)

** Urban meadows video released

** Highlighting experimental findings

Urban BESS have produced an video overview highlighting their urban meadow experiments and what is being learned from the findings. Watch the video here… (http://bess-urban.group.shef.ac.uk/meadow-plantings-the-video/)

** Biodiversity of pollinator effectiveness investigated
researcher Ben Phillips has been undertaking experiments to evaluate the impact of insect biodiversity on pollination in agricultural landscapes. Find out more here… (http://www.brc.ac.uk/wessexbess/node/28)

** Improving Salt Marsh Carbon Stock Measurements
have sent out an appeal for ‘citizen scientists’ to help collect information about our salt marshes to fill in important data gaps.

With the aid of The Saltmarsh App interested individuals and groups can investigate the salt marshes identifying unique plants and wildlife or carry out an interactive plant and soil survey.

The survey will estimate the stored carbon in the saltmarsh soil and show how by preventing this carbon from becoming a greenhouse gas their marsh is helping limit climate change. Find out more here… (http://synergy.st-andrews.ac.uk/cbess/2016/04/25/cbess-the-saltmarsh-app/)

The App data will complement the Carbon Stock Prediction Tool and maps to be launched in June. The Tool is aimed at environmental decision makers in the public sector providing them with a straightforward means of attaching a carbon stock value to salt marshes in England and Wales. Find out more here… (http://synergy.st-andrews.ac.uk/cbess/2016/04/22/bangor-university-the-carbon-prediction-tool/)

** Latest Publications
have published their findings on the impact of data resolution and scale on ecosystem service measurements. Access their paper in Landscape Ecologyhere… (http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10980-015-0337-7)

research findings on the benefits or tree planting for riverine resilience is available here (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.13103/full) in Global Change Biology.

** Next Issue
Despite the current blizzards in Yorkshire – summer IS coming. BESS research will continue to deliver new insights in the links between biodiversity and ecosystem services…

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