Wednesday, 18 April 2018

New report sheds light on how UK farming can meet the sustainability challenge

New report with aim to investigate how the science of agroecology can play a central role in the way our green and pleasant land is managed in the future.

A new report commissioned by the Land Use Policy Group and funded by Scottish Natural Heritage has taken a unique approach to help UK farmers meet the sustainability challenge by using the experiences of farmers that have ‘redesigned’ their farming systems utilising natural resources, such as clover grass leys in the crop rotation, to secure a healthier future for the environment and their businesses.

The aim was to investigate how the science of agroecology can play a central role in the way our green and pleasant land is managed in the future.

Analysing the practical experiences of a group of farmers from Scotland, England and Wales the report aims to unravel farmer expectations, risks and opportunities to help form future policy in the UK based on agroecological farming practices.

The group of fourteen farmers involved in the study were quite diverse and wide ranging – from small scale to large commercial enterprises with on-farm approaches covering agroforestry, pasture-fed livestock systems, organic and integrated farming with direct drilling and/or integration of livestock in arable operations.

The report has recommendations for further action to support agroecology, including the need to develop a support programme to facilitate the transition towards more sustainable farming systems.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Key questions for restoring degraded ecosystems (journal)



One hundred priority questions for landscape restoration in Europe


Free open access until 3rd May 2018

Scientists and researchers outline the key questions that we need to answer to ensure restoration of marine and terrestrial landscapes in Europe is as effective as possible.

Ecological restoration is the process of assisting or allowing the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged, or destroyed.  It is an increasingly important element in strategies aimed at reducing biodiversity loss and reversing declines. It is especially relevant in the intensively managed, farmed, urbanised and industrialised landscapes common in Europe.

The questions are usefully divided into eight sections:

  • conservation of biodiversity; 
  • connectivity, migration and translocations; 
  • delivering and evaluating restoration; 
  • natural processes; 
  • ecosystem services; 
  • social and cultural aspects of restoration; 
  • policy and governance; and economics


The growing research effort investigating larger-scale ecological processes and connectivity (such as the needs of migratory species, the impacts of climate change on species' ranges, and the need to restore ecosystem function) is increasingly focusing attention on large or landscape-scale conservation and restoration. The questions presented in this paper highlight areas where this research could usefully be focused, in order to ensure that restoration projects are carried out in the most appropriate locations, using the best methods and effectively including all stakeholders, in order to maximise their success.



Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Regen ag for profit and biodiversity (journal)

Regenerative agriculture: merging farming and natural resource conservation profitably

Most cropland in the United States is characterized by large monocultures, whose productivity is maintained through a strong reliance on costly tillage, external fertilizers, and pesticides. Despite this, farmers have developed a regenerative model of farm production that promotes soil health and biodiversity, while producing nutrient-dense farm products profitably. When evaluated, regenerative farming systems provided greater ecosystem services and profitability. Pests were 10-fold more abundant in insecticide-treated corn fields, and although regenerative fields had 29% lower grain production they had 78% higher profits over traditional corn production systems.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Transition in Portugal

Transition in Portugal Study
A team led by Anabela Carvalho of Minho University have recently completed an important new study on the status and prospects of Transition in Portugal.

You can read a summary account of their work, which links to an open access version of the original paper, in a wonderful guest post they have contributed to the Transition Research Network blog.

Permaculture for refugees in camps (report)

Permaculture for Refugees in Camps

Rowe Morrow and her Permaculture and Refugees Working Group have developed a new booklet: 'Permaculture for Refugees in Camps'. The current migration situation is not unusual or temporary, and permaculture is well-placed to embrace an uncertain global future that includes the mass movement of people. Permaculture strategies can transform physical and social spaces into
supportive and restorative systems.

Natural processes to reduce flood risk (report)

Working with natural processes to reduce flood risk

The UK government has assembled a very thorough evidence base for working with natural processes to reduce flood risk. There has been much research on Working with Natural Processes, but it has never before been synthesised into one location. This has meant that it has been hard for flood risk managers to access up-to-date information on WWNP measures and to understand their potential benefits.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Free online course, all about soil (opportunity)

A short introduction to GROW - Sign up to Citizen Science: From Soil to Sky, Feb 2018


GROW is a European-wide project engaging thousands of growers, scientists and others passionate about the land. In this video find out how we are using simple tools to better manage soil, while contributing to vital scientific environmental monitoring. Watch this video to learn more. For more info: http://growobservatory.org/
And its still not too late to sign up for GROW's first free MOOC, From Soil to Sky; registration is open until 24th February. https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/g...


This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement 690199