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Climate and the Environment

Climate and the Environment

The environmental challenges facing our planet have never been more acute. SEFARI research helps to show how we can protect and restore our natural capital – our soils, biodiversity and ecosystems – and develop effective ways to manage the land and water to improve environmental condition. SEFARI works to better understand how biological, chemical and physical processes can allow us to tackle climate change, adapt to changes coming our way, and build a more resilient and well-functioning environment.

Case Studies

5 Oct 2021

Mountain heights, hidden depths – biodiversity and carbon in Scotland’s alpine soils

The alpine zone supports some of Scotland’s most natural habitats. Complex topography interacts with snow cover and climate to create gradients in water availability and temperature, resulting in a mosaic of plant communities variously dominated by dwarf-shrubs, grasses, or mosses.

9 Sep 2021

Potato tuber development and quality: Why do some potato varieties sprout more than others?

Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is one of the world's most economically important food crops and holds major significance for future food security.

31 Aug 2021

High and dry - Drought resilience in alpine vegetation and soils

The alpine zone supports some of our most natural habitats and provides ecosystem services including carbon storage, nutrient cycling and water quality.

29 Jul 2021

Ecosystem resilience – Racomitrium heath

Racomitrium heath is a moss-dominated alpine habitat which is widespread and covers extensive areas in oceanic alpine regions. It is important for the rare bird species that it supports, and the ecosystem services it provides, including carbon storage and regulation of water quality.

5 Jul 2021

Does lime application to pastures offer win-win benefits for food production and biodiversity?

In the UK the addition of lime to agricultural land was strongly encouraged by Government subsidy payments to farmers, but since subsidies ceased in the late 1970’s the application of lime has declined with subsequent acidification of many soils.

20 May 2021

Ecological Resilience – woodlands and tree pests/pathogens

Risk assessments of plant pests/pathogens rarely account for potential impacts on biodiversity associated with the affected host.

10 May 2021

Ecosystem resilience – woodland establishment on heather moorland and carbon budgets

Woodland expansion is a key part of the Scottish and Westminster Governments’ plans to meet net zero carbon emission targets by 2045 and 2050 respectively. Here, we use replicated experiments to study the changes that occurred on heather dominated moorland when birch and Scots pine were planted.

27 Apr 2021

Should we graze the uplands of Scotland?

The continued grazing of the uplands is contentious as the goals of rewilding and farming/crofting often appear in conflict. Any changes to land use will result in cascading impacts through ecosystems, and decisions about land-use need to be informed by data to show that benefits will exceed the disbenefits.

26 Mar 2021

What is the cost of soil erosion in Scotland?

Sustainable soil management is a key component of several Scottish Government policies, including the Land Use Strategy, the Climat

23 Feb 2021

Making Green Infrastructure Socially Inclusive: Principles and Challenges

Green Infrastructure consists of interconnected multifunctional green spaces and green features. Components of Green Infrastructure include parks, nature reserves, street trees, streams, sustainable urban drainage systems and green roofs.

18 Jan 2021

Liver fluke risk and Agri-environment Schemes: a Tale of Toads, Snails and Wetland Birds

In this case study, we describe field investigations of liver fluke risk to livestock associated with grazing under two different agri-environmental schemes and discuss best practice for conservation grazing and sustainable fluke control.

14 Jan 2021

New crop protection targets to control late blight

Control of plant diseases such as potato late blight relies heavily on the use of crop protection products such as fungicides.

16 Dec 2020

Integrated Pest Management: How widely have these management practices been adopted?

Arable crops like wheat and barley, are frequently under attack from diseases, weeds, insects and slugs. These lead to reductions in yield and affect the profitability of farms and the price of produce. To protect crops there is a heavy reliance on pesticides.

2 Dec 2020

CALEDON: Gamers creating resilient forests

The public are being asked to report sightings of 22 tree pests and diseases and newly emerging threats.

1 Dec 2020

Using Natural Capital Approaches to support sustainable land management in Scotland: Insights from five pilot studies

Natural capital approaches involve identifying, understanding, and measuring the relative contribution of nature to economic performance and human well-being. By adopting the language of business, natural capital approaches allow the natural environment to be included in discussions about business decisions.

26 Nov 2020

Developing a"Genetic Scorecard": A World-first for Scotland

The following case study summarises a SEFARI Think Tank involving the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh and Scottish Natural Heritage.

16 Nov 2020

Assessing natural capital impacts and dependencies within upland farming systems

Natural capital underpins sustainability and refers to the stocks of natural resources, which include geology, soil, air, water, and all living things.

4 Nov 2020

Phase 2 Grouse Research - Socioeconomic and biodiversity impacts of driven grouse moors and the employment rights of gamekeepers

This ‘Phase 2’ Grouse Research addresses some of the knowledge gaps regarding Scottish driven grouse moor management that were identified during our ‘Phase 1’ Grouse Research as well as gaps identifie

30 Oct 2020

Antimicrobial resistance: bringing Scottish expertise together to find the solutions

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global, immediate and ongoing concern to human health.

21 Oct 2020

The search for crop pathogens Achilles heels

Plant pathogens trigger changes in host plants that allow them to cause disease.  Understanding which molecules pathogens use to do this (termed effectors), how they allow infection to take place, and how they are detected by plants has important implications for our understanding of plant disease.  

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Blog

25 Nov 2021 - 13:52

What is the Buzz Around Pollinators in Scotland?

Scotland’s pollinators are a vital part of the country’s biodiversity and crucial for agricultural productivity. Globally, 75% the world’s crops rely on animal pollinators and these crops account for 35% of global food production.

12 Nov 2021 - 09:42

A Virtual Tour around Scotland’s Innovative Climate Research

With the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) underway, there is a spotlight on initiatives being taken by countries to address climate change. Do you want to know what Scotland is doing about it? Then join us on a virtual tour of some of SEFARI’s fascinating climate research.

9 Nov 2021 - 15:22

Showcasing excellence: a celebration of some incredible SEFARI women

Here at SEFARI, we take pride in our partner institutes and their outstanding achievements in research and informing policy.