Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Ecosystems and ecosystem services

6 September 2016

In this paper, land change scenarios are modelled that include biodiversity protection or afforestation for carbon sequestration as an explicit demand which competes with demand for food and feed production.

6 September 2016

The authors of this paper have tried to develop a framework to apply the concept of planetary boundaries to national level decision making and to discuss what a country’s ‘fair share’ of Earth’s safe operating space could be.

31 August 2016

A new study published in the journal Nature Communications provides additional evidence that a specific group of controversial pesticides, neonicotinoids, affects wild bees negatively. The work was funded by the UK government and related data of wild bee distributions over time to the introduction of the pesticides in British fields. It is the first to link the pesticides to the decline of many bee species in real-world conditions.

23 August 2016

In this analysis presented in the journal Nature, four conservation scientists warn against the current trend of over-reporting on climate change’s impacts on biodiversity. Instead, they find that by far the biggest drivers of biodiversity loss are overexploitation (the harvesting of species from the wild at rates that cannot be compensated for by reproduction or regrowth) and agriculture.

7 July 2016

This paper presents biodiversity scenarios as a useful tool to help policymakers predict how flora and fauna will likely respond to future environmental conditions. Although changes to land use are a major driver of biodiversity loss, the study finds that scenarios focus overwhelmingly on climate change. The researchers argue that this imbalance makes scenarios less credible, and they make recommendations on how to improve and make more plausible projections.

9 June 2016

This paper looks at how soil can help contribute to climate mitigation.  It argues that by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, sequestering carbon and using prudent agricultural management practices that improve the soil-nitrogen cycle (tighter cycle with less leakage), it is possible to enhance soil fertility, bolster crop productivity, improve soil biodiversity, and reduce erosion, runoff and water pollution.

20 April 2016

This study looks into how residential landscapes in Chicago, USA, which constitute the largest single urban land use, benefit ecosystems. It argues that even though we often don’t associate modern urban areas with healthy ecosystems, home gardens in urban landscapes can contribute to important ecosystem services.

1 April 2016

More than three-quarters of the world's food crops are at least partly dependent on pollination and in many regions over 40 percent of the bees and the butterflies are threatened with extinction, according to a new report entitled Thematic Assessment of Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production.

31 March 2016

This paper in Science discusses the potential of yield increase incentives as a way of convincing farmers to save land to protect biodiversity rather than increasing farmland.   The increase of agricultural land is one of the leading causes of biodiversity loss and greenhouse gas emissions in tropical countries. This paper argues that increasing yields on existing agricultural land can provide farmers with the incentive to spare land for wildlife and nature.

18 January 2016

In this paper, researchers from a number of UK and US research institutions explore the potential for land sparing as a greenhouse gas (GHG) offsetting strategy – that is, by increasing crop and livestock yields so as to enable agricultural land to be freed up and used for habitat restoration (for example) an enable carbon sequestration. 

16 November 2015

This paper argues that the failure of protected areas to guard biodiversity partly reflects a lack of science available. The paper offers strategic guidance on the types of science needed to be conducted so protected areas can be placed and managed in ways that support the overall goal to avert biodiversity loss.

30 September 2015

New research from Cambridge University finds that providing farmers and farmer industries with financial incentives to mitigate agriculture’s impact on the environment positively effects greenhouse gas reduction and increased biodiversity at the aggregate level.

The study analysed investment in two key types of agri-environment schemes: measures to spare land for conservation, and measures (such as taxation) intended to limit fertiliser use. The research team plotted this against national trends for farmland bird populations and emissions from synthetic fertiliser across the US, Canada, Australia and Europe.

16 July 2015

This paper from Nature Communications explores whether arguments that highlight and quantity biodiversity’s economic value to humanity are sufficient approaches  to halting its loss; and it also discusses some of the potential trade offs between the conservation of biological diversity and the concept of ecosystem services.

31 March 2015

This paper asks the question “Can agriculture be sustainable?”  It argues that, if we want to take a different path, we will have to make the choice to do so. It emphasises that we need to be clear that we have choices - options that need to be debated rather than subsumed in a dialogue of crisis and food shortages. The paper outlines some of these options in order to pursue a more sustainable pathway.

26 March 2015

You can now view videos of all key note presentations from the Natural Capital Initiative's second “Valuing our Life Support Systems 2014” event. You can also view and download power point presentations given by key note and session speakers. The NCI report of the meeting in its entirety will be published in early spring.

18 February 2015

An article from Science Daily reports on how scientists, advisors and communications specialists have come together to examine whether beef production can help restore ecosystems. They have started to examine the adaptive multi-paddock (AMP) grazing management technique: this involves using small-sized fields to provide short periods of grazing for livestock and long recovery periods for fields.