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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

3 Nov 2022

What impact does tree planting have on soil carbon storage?

Increasingly trees are being promoted as a means to increase carbon storage and hence off-set climate change.

24 Oct 2022

Does floodplain restoration help to reduce extremes of water availability and improve biodiversity?

Healthy, intact floodplains play an important role in mitigating extremes of water availability (droughts and floods) expected under climate change. Compared to other ecosystems, intact floodplains also support a disproportionately high biodiversity.

30 Sep 2022

Taking the scenic (and sustainable) route - exploring public engagement strategies to decarbonise transport in UK national parks

The climate emergency presents a double challenge for public bodies as they reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and learn to adapt to the already changing climate.

12 Aug 2022

Assessing the benefits of river restoration in low energy streams

Streams and rivers in farmland areas often have a degraded morphology due to straightening and run-off pollution (inputs of fine sediment, < 2 mm particle size diameter).

14 Jun 2022

Livestock Health and Greenhouse Gases: A SEFARI Specialist Advisory Group

A SEFARI Gateway-funded Specialist Advisory Group brought together a broad range of expertise across key industry stakeholders, Government Policy Leads and relevant SEFARI researchers to discuss livestock health and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), to prioritise health conditions that have the greatest impact on emis

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.

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Blog

23 Nov 2022 - 09:45

Meet Scotland’s leaders in biodiversity conservation science

Alexandra Davey introduces a project highlighting the scientists working to combat the biodiversity crisis in Scotland and around the world – from early-career researchers right through to senior scientists.

15 Nov 2022 - 15:48

Vertical farming - is the sky the limit?

During COP26 the contribution of agriculture and food production to greenhouse gas emissions was discussed and, goals were set to tackle the global challenges of climate change.

24 Oct 2022 - 13:40

The future of livestock farming: What’s your beef?

We are pleased to have a guest contribution from Dr Max Coleman, an ecologist and science communicator at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, who is taking a wider look at beef production from an ecological perspective.