July 2015

International Year of Soils Scotland 2015 event

Scottish Natural Heritage is organising a ‘Sharing Good Practice’ event to mark the 2015 International Year of Soils.  The ‘Making Soils Count’ event will aim to promote awareness of soil and demonstrate practical options for sustainable management of the land taking account of soils. 

As a key element of natural capital, soils need to be sustainably managed and protected to enable the long-term provision of ecosystem services such as the provision of food and timber. 

Scottish Land Use Strategy meeting - report available

Scottish Land Use Strategy Annual Stakeholder Event 2015 – presentations and event report published

This year’s annual Land Use Strategy stakeholder event on 11 June attracted over 100 people with interests in land management in Scotland to hear about the recently concluded Regional Land Use Pilot Projects in Aberdeenshire and the Scottish Borders. The programme, speaker presentations and an event report can be found here.

Publication on resilient cities and climate change

Westminster Sustainable Business Forum and the NERC (Natural Environment Research Council) formed a partnership to explore the challenges for UK cities in becoming resilient in the context of climate change. 

The partnership lead to a panel discussion chaired by Barry Gardiner MP, Shadow Minister for the Natural Environment, and two round tables in December 2014 and January 2015 chaired by Jeremy Lefroy MP and Alison Seabeck MP, respectively. 

URBIS webinar on ecosystem services in cities

URBIS (Urban Biosphere Initiative) will be running the first of several webinars on ecosystem services on the 6th August, called ‘Ecosystem Services: Part One- Analyzing the current condition of the city’.  This webinar will take a broad view of the idea of ecosystem services and how to assess the current state of biodiversity and ecosystem services in cities.

Report: Valuing our Life Support Systems

The Natural Capital Initiative (NCI) recently launched its ‘Valuing our Life Support Systems’ summit report, which summarises the main findings of the natural capital summit NCI hosted in November last year. The summit assessed current thinking on natural capital, the state of research, practical application, and how to further enable the valuing of natural capital in planning and decision-making based on sound science. The report addresses key messages to policymakers and planners, business leaders and researchers.

Webinar: making the case for nature

In a webinar for the Ecosystems Knowledge Network on 25th June, Dr Pam Berry from Oxford University introduced the findings from the BESAFE Project, a three year research programme funded by the European Commission that has investigated the range of arguments that people use in favour of protecting and restoring 'biodiversity'. Participants learned about the range of arguments in circulation and the contexts in which some work better than others.  


Report on the Economic Value of Culm Grassland Ecosystem Services

The first financial valuation of Culm Grassland in Devon and Cornwall has been undertaken by a team led by Devon Wildlife Trust.  The research sought to quantify ecosystem services in relation to water resource management, carbon storage and in comparison with more intensively managed grasslands.  The findings indicate that there is a more than ten-fold return on the investment made by the Wildlife Trust in the restoration of Culm grassland.  Key figures taken from the report illustrate that:

Scottish Land Use Data Directory

The 2011 Scottish Land Use Strategy aims to encourage and support sustainable land use, and reflects aspects of the ecosystem approach.  One of the proposals of the Strategy was to produce a Land Use Information Hub.  This would help people access spatial data to support the evaluation of what land does for people.  The Information Hub takes the form of a data directory, which is now available and can be found at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Environment/Countryside/Landusestrategy/data