Posts By / Arjan Gosal

Rewilding Dorset

A very successful meeting with 140 delegates from was held in May 2016 at Charlton Down Village Hall, near Dorchester to discuss and explore the application of rewilding concepts to Dorset co-hosted by Bournemouth University and the Dorset Wildlife Trust.

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In recent years, rewilding has become a major theme in conservation, stimulated by publications such as George Monbiot’s Feral and the launch of rewilding organisations both in the UK and at the European scale. While a number of rewilding initiatives have been launched in the UK, most of these are predominantly located in upland areas in the north and west of the country. Elsewhere in Europe, many rewilding initiatives are seeking to encourage ecological recovery on agricultural land that has been abandoned. This raises the question of whether rewilding concepts are applicable to intensive agricultural landscapes such as Dorset, and if so, how they might best be implemented.

We were delighted to be able to welcome a number of speakers who presented at the meeting, including leading researchers with expertise in rewilding, and practitioners with experience in implementing rewilding projects. The meeting also involved representatives from a number of conservation organisations in Dorset.

Speakers included:

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Dr Paul Jepson, Oxford University – “Rewilding policy: risk and opportunities”

 

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Dr Christopher Sandom, University of Sussex – “Putting rewilding into practice”

 

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Dr Matthew Heard, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology – “Ecological impacts of rewilding using extensive grazing: the case of Knepp Estate”

 

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Fiona Bowles, Poole Harbour Catchment Initiative – “Is there space for Dorset Rivers to run wild?”

 

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Helen Meech, Rewilding Britain – “Why Rewild Britain?”

 

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Professor Richard Brazier, Exeter University – “Quantifying the ecohydrological impacts of reintroducing Eurasian Beaver to intensively managed, lowland agricultural landscapes”

 

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Alison Turnock, Dorset AONB – “The Wild Purbeck Nature Improvement Area – towards bigger, better, more, joined”

 

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The day was rounded off with a lively and positive discussion with  Jonathan Spencer (Forestry Commission), Ian Alexander (Natural England), Mark Robbins (RSPB), David Brown (National Trust), Imogen Davenport (Dorset Wildlife Trust) and chaired by Prof. James Bullock (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology).

 

This meeting was held as part of the Modelling Natural Capital in Dorset Project (funded under the Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF) initiative). Any questions can be addressed to Research Assistant Arjan Gosal.

Rewilding Dorset Meeting

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A one-day discussion meeting to explore the application of rewilding concepts to Dorset.

Date: Thursday 5th May

Meeting commences: 10:00 am

Meeting finishes: 5.30 pm

Venue: Charlton Down Village Hall, near Dorchester, Dorset. DT2 9UA

In recent years, rewilding has become a major theme in conservation, stimulated by publications such as George Monbiot’s Feral and the launch of rewilding organisations both in the UK and at the European scale. While a number of rewilding initiatives have been launched in the UK, most of these are predominantly located in upland areas in the north and west of the country. Elsewhere in Europe, many rewilding initiatives are seeking to encourage ecological recovery on agricultural land that has been abandoned. This raises the question of whether rewilding concepts are applicable to intensive agricultural landscapes such as Dorset, and if so, how they might best be implemented.

The aim of this meeting is to examine concept of rewilding: how it is defined, which approaches can be used, and whether such concepts and approaches might be relevant to Dorset.

We are delighted to be able to welcome a number of speakers who will present at the meeting, including leading researchers with expertise in rewilding, and practitioners with experience in implementing rewilding projects. The meeting will also involve representatives from a number of conservation organisations in Dorset, who will be invited to share their perspectives on rewilding. We hope to provide an opportunity to learn about what rewilding entails and to examine its strengths and weaknesses as a concept, and also to discuss its potential application in Dorset.

Speakers:

  • Dr Paul Jepson, Oxford University – “Rewilding policy: risk and opportunities”
  • Dr Christopher Sandom, University of Sussex – “Putting rewilding into practice”
  • Dr Matthew Heard, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology – “Ecological impacts of rewilding using extensive grazing: the case of Knepp Estate”
  • Fiona Bowles, Poole Harbour Catchment Initiative – “Is there space for Dorset Rivers to run wild?”
  • Helen Meech, Rewilding Britain – “Why Rewild Britain?”
  • Professor Richard Brazier, Exeter University – “Quantifying the ecohydrological impacts
  • of reintroducing Eurasian Beaver to intensively managed, lowland agricultural landscapes”
  • Alison Turnock, Dorset AONB – “The Wild Purbeck Nature Improvement Area – towards bigger, better, more, joined”

 

It is essential you book a ticket if you wish to attend, please visit: rewilding-dorset.eventbrite.co.uk.

For all enquiries email Arjan Gosal (agosal@bournemouth.ac.uk)

Photo credit:

European beaver (Castor fiber) by Per Harald Olsen/ NTNU (CC BY)

 

Ecosystem Services Partnership 2015 Conference, South Africa

 

Over 350 delegates from around the world attended the Ecosystem Services Partnership conference this year (9-13th Nov 2015) in Stellenbosch – near Cape Town, South Africa. Being fortunate enough to attend this year myself, I presented my research on assessing cultural ecosystem service; a multifaceted approach using various techniques including participatory GIS, spatial mapping, GPS tracking of visitors and use of existing data sets explored in relation to the New Forest.

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Themed around nature, people and prosperity, the conference aimed to centre on the dialogue between public and private sector utilisation of the ecosystem services concept.

The largest conference of its kind, the keynote speakers were diverse. Highlights included Executive Director of the Natural Capital Coalition’s Mark Gough (the coalition aims to build clear guidance on how business can effectively and measure natural capital just like financial capital is measured). The conference was closed with an inspiring and convincing talk from ‘Gross Domestic Problem’ author Lorenzo Fioamonti (Professor of Political Science at the University of Pretoria) about the downfalls of using the GDP statistic as the only measure of an economy.

Arjan Gosal is currently working as a Research Assistant on the HEIF project: Modelling Natural Capital in Dorset.

New HEIF project commences: Modelling Natural Capital in Dorset

UK government policies relating to economic growth and the environment explicitly identify the need to create ‘a green economy, in which economic growth and the health of our natural resources sustain each other, and markets, businesses and Government better reflect the value of nature’ (Defra 2011). Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and Local Nature Partnerships (LNP), including those in Dorset, were specifically created to support achievement of this goal. Key challenges are the need to assess the economic value of ecosystem services and to factor them into decision making; and the need to develop integrated and multisectoral approaches to spatial development that improve synergies and reduce trade-offs, while supporting the sustainable management of natural resources.

This project is designed to overcome these challenges, through the development of a modelling toolkit that will enable the value of ecosystem services to be assessed and mapped, then linked with economic activity. While analysis of ecosystem services is now a major international research endeavour, linkage with economic activity (such as the inputs and outputs of different industrial sectors) is at a very early stage. The toolkit to be developed by this project will therefore be both innovative and timely. By piloting the toolkit using Dorset as a case study, this project will deliver a proof of concept, with potential global applicability if successful.

Funded under the Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF) initiative, any questions regarding the project can be addressed to P.I. Prof. Adrian Newton or Research Assistant Arjan Gosal.

Dynamics and Thresholds of Ecosystem Services in Wooded Landscapes website

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Reaching the end of a research project is always a time of diligence. Though it is important to keep an eye on impact. It was in this light that the recent project spear-headed by Prof Adrian Newton invested resources updating its website ‘Dynamics and Thresholds of Ecosystem Services in Wooded Landscapes’.

The project aims to identify the form of the quantitative relationships between biodiversity, ecosystem functions and services at the landscape scale, as well as establishing whether there are critical levels of biodiversity that are required in wooded landscapes for provision of such services.

The site features an outline of the study area, to methods including long-term modelling techniques. It is envisaged this will aid impact of the project. Any questions regarding the site can be addressed to Research Technician and Postgraduate Researcher Arjan Gosal.