New paper: Exploring connections among nature, biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human health and well-being

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An interesting paper by Sandifer et al (2015) explores the opportunities to enhance health and biodiversity conservation:-   Exploring connections among nature, biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human health and well-being: Opportunities to enhance health and biodiversity conservation doi:10.1016/j.ecoser.2014.12.007

Organising evidence for environmental decisions

Today colleagues and I published a paper that brings together years of thinking and discussion about how to provide environmental managers access to the best available scientific evidence (Dicks et al. 2014). The mainstay of our approach is a ‘4S’ hierarchy. This describes different levels of evidence synthesis, each level more condensed and accessible to decision-makers than the level below. The four Ss are: Studies, Systematic Reviews, Summaries, and Decision Support Systems. OK, we know that the last one’s really a D. 

Public event: Putting a price on nature, November 2014

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As part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science 2014, the University of East Anglia is running a series of public exhibitions, talks and interactive demonstrations to explore the questions ‘what does nature do for me?’ and ‘what is nature worth?’.

At this free event in November 2014, economists and geographers will illustrate the interconnection between modern lifestyles and the natural environment using a range of information technologies. Are you interested in getting involved?

Moving onto a new role

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This will be my last post to the Valuing Nature Network site in my role as VNN communications manager, as I prepare to say goodbye to the Valuing Nature Network, and take up my new role as the Communications and Impact Manager for the ESRC-funded Nexus Network.

It's been great working with you over the past couple of years and I have learnt a huge amount about the research, policy and business interests in valuing nature.

I'm leaving you in safe hands - the new team will take over shortly, so expect to hear from them soon.

Ecological Focus Areas: will planting peas and beans help bees?

It was announced yesterday that English arable farmers will be able to fulfill their Ecological Focus Area requirement under the new Common Agricultural Policy by planting leguminous crops - peas, beans and other pulses – on 5% of their land. Ecological Focus Areas are one of the new compulsory greening measures, originally conceived as areas of land left out of production, or with low intensity production, managed or left alone to benefit wildlife.

Greenwashing the Common Agricultural Policy

The newly reformed European Common Agricultural Policy includes compulsory greening measures, linked to the direct farm subsidies rather than being voluntary. 

This should have been a good change, further protecting farmed ecosystems across Europe and the important services they provide. Our analysis, published today in Science, explains why it is not. 

Strategic pollinator conservation, English style

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The National Pollinators Strategy for England came out yesterday for consultation. In it, the Government outlines what it will do to help pollinators over the next 10 years.

Essentially it boils down to three things that are new:

• Provide targeted Government guidance on how to help pollinators
• Fund research to start filling in some glaring knowledge gaps
• Implement a new pollinator monitoring scheme from 2016.

True-Cost accounting in Food and Farming - conference

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Last Friday I went to the True-Cost Accounting in Food and Farming conference in London, organised by the Sustainable Food Trust.

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