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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

28 Apr 2022

Assessing the impact of different management interventions on perceived woodland benefits

The importance of ecosystems and biodiversity to human well-being is now well established as they provide benefits such as timber, pollination and coastal protection. 

19 Apr 2022

Net zero opportunities to mitigate agricultural emissions in the North East of Scotland

The Scottish Government has committed to legally binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2045. This will require a reduction across all sectors of the economy.

8 Apr 2022

Can open science aid the sustainable transition? Collaborative intercrop research with farmers highlights opportunities for data and knowledge sharing

Scotland has ambitious strategies for biodiversity protection and climate action with the intention of achieving a greener, fairer and just future.

4 Apr 2022

Comparing Biodiversity Predictions by People and Computer Models for Woodland Management

Combining local, contextualised knowledge with generalised, scientific knowledge is seen as best practice in decision making for biodiversity management. However, there is the potential for conflict if these two knowledges do not concur.

1 Apr 2022

Going underground: testing the potential of citizen science and DNA to explore alpine soil biodiversity

Soil biodiversity is critical to ecosystem functioning, but our understanding of the richness and distribution of soil organisms lags far behind that of biodiversity above ground.

14 Dec 2021

Exploring the potential of spatially referenced data to support the evolution of land-based policy in Scotland

The way we manage land and plan land-use change plays an integral role in the efforts for meeting climatic targets and for mitigating and adapting to climate change impacts.

7 Dec 2021

Nature-based Solutions – how should we plan and evaluate them?

Nature-based Solutions (NbS) have been defined many times, but these definitions can be summarised as “solutions to societal challenges that are inspired and supported by nature”.

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.

Pages

Blog

13 May 2022 - 15:15

“They seek it here, they seek it there” - studying integrated water management

In this blog, Dr Kerry Waylen, a senior researcher in the Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences Department at the James Hutton Institute, discusses the practical difficulties in aligning approaches to protect and improve water quality and ecology alongside those for managing flood risk.

29 Apr 2022 - 16:55

Could a Circular Food System contribute to Nutrition Security and Sufficiency? The Bean Hull Case

With growing pressures on food resources, agricultural inputs (e.g., energy, soil, water), production costs and the environment, many of us are looking at how we can reduce food wastage whilst still ensuring we get adequate nutrition.

13 Apr 2022 - 09:52

Happier than a pig in mud: Exploring the importance of human and livestock mental wellbeing

The interconnection between people, animals, and their shared environment has been recognized for over a century and recently, the term ’One Health’ has come to describe this connection.