What is the future for beavers in Britain?

Could beavers be successfully re-established in Britain and what affect would they have on local biodiversity? Beavers are ecosystem engineers which, by building dams and channels, create and maintain wetlands. Through these activities, beavers have the potential to increase local biodiversity, reduce downstream flooding, and improve water quality. In Britain, beavers were hunted to extinction […]

Light and Dark Matters: Sunset walk and talk with artist Susan Schuppli

Artist Susan Schuppli leads a walk in Tate Modern’s surrounding area reflecting on the materiality of sunsets and the politics of light. Why is the sun now setting further west in the arctic regions? How do atmospheric pollutants supercharge the colours of our sunsets? When the sun goes down our AM radio reception fade and […]

Wings of change

Long-term insect surveillance initiatives, such as the Rothamsted Insect Survey and the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme, allow ongoing assessments of the conservation status of large numbers of insect species against a background of increasing environmental change. This meeting will highlight the key findings from long-term insect surveys, including a 50-year monitoring project for British moths and butterflies.

The conservation science/policy interface: challenges and opportunities

Good communication between policy makers and scientists is a crucial requirement for developing policies that cost-effectively achieve measurable outcomes in conservation. Yet science and other forms of knowledge are not used effectively in policymaking; and policymakers do not always effectively inform scientists about their needs for scientific knowledge. Why is this so?
This event will bring together ecologists, conservation practitioners and policy-makers to discuss case-studies showing how science – policy interactions work in practice.

Are economic growth and biodiversity conservation compatible?

Economic growth has undoubtedly improved human livelihoods yet has equally convincingly had negative effects on the environment. Scientists are considering introducing a new geologic epoch, the Anthropocene, to capture humanity’s impact on Earth’s ecosystems. . This debate will bridge developmental and ecological economics with political and environmental science to explore how humanity can manage economic growth and biodiversity conservation.

Global land-use change: causes and consequences for biodiversity

Anthropogenic environmental changes, such as global land use and land cover change, driven by rapid human population growth and increasing demand for agricultural and forest products, are impacting the balance of the Earth system. This meeting will highlight the causes of land use and land cover change, investigate the impacts on biodiversity loss, ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services, and explore how non-market and public benefits, including wildlife conservation, can be incorporated into land-use planning.

Wild Britain and Brian Cox

I expect we all put off our Friday night plans to watch Wild Britain with Ray Mears. He’s a funny beast, Mears. He seems never to have grown out of that boyish make-a-den-in-the-woods phase. This is not a criticism. I think it’s part of his charm. His programmes are not sensational and neither is he. […]

Skiing’s Dirty Secret

With the summer coming to a close, your mind might be starting to wander onto more wintery thoughts. For some, this will mean deciding on where to take your next skiing holiday! However, I doubt that when booking your trip, the environmental policy of the resort will have crossed your mind. Whilst conservation may not […]

Science Behind the Photo #44

Arizona Petrified Forest The badlands of Arizona, once thriving with lush forests of the Late Triassic, are now littered with the reminder of greener times. Beautifully preserved wood logs have withstood the test of time and given scientists a glimpse into the complexities of a palaeo ecosystem. 225 million years ago the scene was very […]

(Pre-)crime and Punishment

Do models that claim to be able to predict crime open the door to smarter policing, or just reduced policing? “A city is an ecological system” – a true urban jungle, in which human behaviour can be viewed through a thoroughly biological lens, its stable patterns open to tracking and even anticipation. So says University […]

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the greenest of them all? Eco-conscious consumers are increasingly trying to make decisions based on a company’s green credentials. But beneath all the marketing rhetoric, how can we really tell the environmental heroes from the villains? I’m not very good at recycling. Quite frankly, I struggle to see the […]

Is Palm Oil So Evil?

Palm oil is indigenous to the tropical belt area but has only recently spread across the world in an industrial context. The industry reputation suffers damage as a result of the necessary destruction it causes to tropical forest, in order to clear land for plantations. Environmental standards have been introduced to improve the sustainability of […]

Bloomin marvellous

An unusually snowy winter, and weeks of heavy rainfall in south east USA has resulted in the Mississippi River flooding to record levels.  As a response, US engineers have released the rising waters onto the floodplains surrounding the river, in order to save the heavily populated regions further downstream. The economic costs of such an […]

The unseen threat of nitrogen

Nitrogen is one of those elements that never really gets much attention. It’s colourless, odourless and mostly inert. For the most part, it’s a bit of a loner as well, only bonding with itself in the form of N2. Unfortunately, it’s the quiet ones that can prove to me the most dangerous, as an international […]

Batting away pesticide use

Agriculture is a costly business. You need seeds to plant, fertilizer to make it grow and machinery to harvest. Unfortunately, we grow most of this food in big, exposed landscapes providing an delicious buffet for billions of insects. It is no surprise, therefore, that pesticide is one of the biggest expenses for British farmers (£720 […]

London’s Foxes

Family feuds, gang wars and illicit affairs – the urban fox might only live for a maximum of five years but they pack a lot in. We tend to only see only one fox at a time, normally a streak of light brown across an empty street. But London’s foxes live in extended family groups […]

Aliens have already invaded the UK

Alien species are having a massive impact on the UK both in terms of our natural ecology and our economy. Not actually little green men, alien or invasive species are types of plants or animals that aren’t native to an area but have somehow been introduced by humans. Whilst there are a few notorious aliens that the […]