New agenda for ecological research in the UK

New agenda for ecological research in the UK
Tree planting in the UK (iStock via BES report)

A new report published today by the British Ecological Society sets out a research agenda for ecology over the next 25 years. The Future of Ecological Research in the UK report offers a broad, ambitious vision for ecological research in a rapidly changing world, identifying five key themes to advance our understanding of the response of natural ecosystems to the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, an ecological understanding of the world has never been more pivotal to the future of humanity and all life on Earth.

  • Novel futures
  • Living laboratories
  • Dynamic ecological systems
  • Wholescapes
  • Frontiers of discover

To tackle the global challenges the natural world faces, the report brought together leading experts to set out a vision for the future of ecological research, including NbSI director Nathalie Seddon. The report identifies priority themes to advance our understanding of the natural world. These include, making sure ecological systems are resilient to a rapidly changing world; harnessing nature restoration projects into ‘living laboratories’ to provide new data and test approaches such as rewilding; and focussing our attentions on poorly understood ecological frontiers such as soils, forest canopies and the deep ocean.

Professor Bridget Emmett, BES President-Elect and Head of Soils and Land Use at the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, and key contributor to the reports said:

“We need to accelerate the pace of developing new solutions to tackle biodiversity loss and climate change whilst supporting the well-being of our growing global population. This requires us to identify the problems and bottlenecks sooner and work through possible solutions in real-life situations, working with all sectors of society from local communities to land managers, business and governments. These spaces are called ‘living laboratories’ with the label emphasising that whilst they are places to rapidly test new ideas this is to be achieved working in partnership with people who are already committed to tackling these complex and challenging problems on the ground.”

Launch event

The report is being launched with an online event on the 23rd March (14:00-15:30 GMT). It will be broadcast as a Zoom webinar where attendees who have registered can submit questions.

Sign up for the launch event.

You can also view it on YouTube live.