Annual Review 2020-21

Highlights of our achievements in 2021 as we look forward beyond the pandemic and work towards a greener future.

Front cover of Annual Review 2020-21

Explore highlights from our Annual Review below or download the full review.


£250k grant connects pupils with nature

A BES-led project to increase 10,000 young peoples’ connection to nature in North-East England has been awarded a £250,000 grant over three years by the UK Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund.

The programme will deliver a green transformation to 50 schools in disadvantaged areas of the North East, creating wildflower areas, hedgehog highways and bird-feeding stations. Pupils will then monitor the wildlife around their schools.

Guiding UK policy on nature-based solutions

The BES launched a landmark report in May examining how nature-based solutions can help mitigate and adapt to climate change and support biodiversity.

The report was written by world-class independent scientists and incorporates contributions from over 100 experts. Its review of the evidence offers a guide for policy development on nature-based solutions, such as tree planting, restoration of peatlands and coastal salt marshes, in all four devolved nations of the UK.

One-stop shop for applied ecology

A new platform which supports evidence-based decision-making on biodiversity and the environment was launched by the BES in April.

Applied Ecology Resources (AER) curates an ever-growing collection of information sources, such as open access journal articles, research summaries and grey literature.

Effective conservation requires that information from both research and practice are available. Yet it can be hard to find information that appears in reports and case-studies prepared by agencies, consulting companies and NGOs. AER was created to solve this problem, providing a one-stop shop for information from all sectors of applied ecology and conservation.

Green spaces in the limelight

We brought ecology to the living room during the Edinburgh Science Festival in June and July. Over 1,450 households were transported to our virtual gallery offering ‘Six predictions of Edinburgh’s future green spaces’.

The remarkable 3D virtual gallery displays artworks showing how green our city spaces could be in the future. Visitors can wander among the exhibits, all co-created by local artists and organisations working together, as you might in a real art gallery.

The Directors of the Edinburgh Science Festival called it, “A unique, memorable and world-leading opportunity to engage audiences with the importance of nature-based solutions.”

The virtual gallery, with artworks created by local artists and ecologists from the Scottish Wildlife Trust, the City of Edinburgh Council, Nature Scot, Architecture & Design Scotland, Forest Research and University of Bangor.

The importance of a green recovery

The BES President Jane Memmott looks back at her two-year term as it comes towards its close and a period that has been dominated by the coronavirus pandemic: “It hardly needs saying that the impact of the pandemic on the research, teaching and practice of ecology has been profound.

As economic activity picks up, we must seek a greener future with a new commitment to reducing carbon and restoring nature
Jane Memmott

“As vaccinations bring some measure of normality back – at least to the Western world – we also need to look forward … What we must grab hold of with both hands is the new recognition of the critical role science plays in society, shown in the success of vaccines and new treatments, and the importance of nature to our wellbeing, which so many of us have relied on during this time.

“As economic activity picks up again, we absolutely must make the most of these factors in seeking a greener future with a new commitment to reducing carbon and restoring nature.”

Read Jane’s full introduction to the Annual Review.

Jane Memmott

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These highlights are just a taster of all that we have achieved this year.