We’re delighted our first symposium of 2017 is with BESS and in Cardiff!

Joint BES and BESS Symposium: Advances in Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services
Cardiff, April 24 – 26 2017

Registration is now open!

There is an urgent need to understand how natural stocks are linked to flows of ecosystem services and how these linkages are likely to change in the future, given the environmental challenges of an increasing population, demand for housing and infrastructure, the need to feed a rapidly growing planet and climate change. The UK has taken the lead in teasing out these linkages, reflected in a raft of research initiatives that are coming to fruition, including NERC’s BESS (Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Sustainability) programme, the co-sponsor of this meeting. The symposium will showcase those contributions through plenary presentation from leading researchers on a range of themes including: the policy drivers and context in which this research sits; working at the larger scales of landscapes and of trophic complexity; understanding the resilience of natural systems to uncertain futures; developments in novel  methodologies  in Earth Observation and in GIS-based  approaches; the challenge of cultural ecosystem services. Each of the plenary sessions is prefaced by a keynote address from leading international figures in the field and there are hands-on workshops showcasing practical tools needed by those taking an ecosystem services approach to management and decision-making.

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You can view the full programme here: Joint BES-BESS Symposium Programme..

Monday 24 April

Registration and coffee will be available from 10:00 with the meeting will starting at 11:00.

Session 1 Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services; keynote Rosie Hails
Session 2 Thinking Big – Working at Larger Scales; keynote Elena Bennett

Poster session and mixer at 17:00

Conference social at 19:00

Tuesday 25 April

Session 3 Resilient Ecosystems; keynote Jose Montoya
Session 4 New Tools and Approaches; keynote Heiko Baltzer
Session 5 Cultural Services; keynote Kai Chan
Session 6 Where Next for Ecosystem Services? Keynote Ruth waters

Wednesday 26 April


Keynote Speakers

Dr Elena Bennett

Elena is an Assistant Professor at McGill University’s Department of Natural Resources. She heads up a large and active group focussing on how the types of ecosystem services interact across the landscape and how humans can manage landscapes to provide multiple ecosystems services; the trade-offs between agricultural production and water quality; learning how people change Phosphorus  cycles through farming, trade, and other activities, and how this, in turn impacts water quality. She takes a multiple-scale approach to her research ranging from the farm field to the watershed or region.

Professor Kai Chan

Kai is based at the Institute for Oceans and Fisheries, University of British Columbia. He is an interdisciplinary sustainability scientist who focuses on how social-ecological systems can be transformed to be better and wilder, including considerations of justice. He takes an empirical and modelling approach to his research and has a special interest in ecosystem services, in ecosystem-based management and  in socio-ecological systems and resilience. Kai has published extensively on cultural services.

Professor Heiko Balzter

Heiko is director of the Centre for Landscape and Climate Research at the University of Leicester which currently focusses on Earth observation for biodiversity and ecosystem services, pioneering the uses of satellite and other data to measure the spatial patterns and temporal dynamics in ecosystem services provision. Remote sensing of forests and agricultural systems for climate mitigation and food security form the core of this research.

Professor Jose M Montoya

Jose is Senior Scientist at the CNRS, based at the Ecological Experimental Station in Moulis, France, where he leads the Ecological Networks and Global Change group. His research focus on the interaction networks between species in ecosystems, mostly food webs, and symbiotic interaction networks, including how the structure of ecological networks affects ecosystem functioning and services such as primary productivity, nutrient processing and cycling, or the metabolic balance of ecosystems. His approach is to combine mathematical modelling, statistical analysis of ecological networks corresponding to different systems, and manipulative experiments using mesocosms. He works across different spatial and temporal scales, from global patterns to local community dynamics, and from fossil record data to short-term predictions and observations.

Professor Rosemary Hails

Director of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Science at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) with research interests including the trade-offs between provisioning and other ecosystem services from agricultural land; valuation of natural capital and ecosystem services; persistence and transmission of insect pathogens, and the risk assessment of genetically modified plants and viruses.

Rosie is chair of the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE) and a member of the Natural Environment Research Council Science Board. She is a vice president and member of council for the British Ecological Society (BES) and co-founded the Natural Capital Initiative in collaboration with the BES and The Royal Society of Biology. She was a member of the expert panel and an author for the UK National Ecosystem Assessment and a member of the first Natural Capital Committee. She was awarded an MBE for services to environmental research in June 2000.

Dr Ruth Waters

Ruth is Deputy Chief Scientist for Natural England and Principal Specialist Ecosystem Approach and Natural Capital. She has played a key and energetic role in promoting the Ecosystem Approach within conservation and management in the UK, especially in embedding the approach into day to day decisions and management of the natural environment. This includes consideration of ecosystem services, natural capital, natural assets, valuation (both monetary and non-monetary) and participatory approaches. Through her extensive advisory positions and activity she has played a major role in shaping the ecosystem services and natural capital research agenda.

The Venue

The meeting will be held at the Water Institute, University of Cardiff based within the School of Biological Sciences, University of Cardiff. The Institute is directed by Isabelle Durance and brings together cognate disciplines and individuals from across the university to understand and resolve the complex and proliferating problems surrounding water resources and use that can only be solved by integrated, innovative and transdisciplinary research. The aim is to develop efficient, equitable systems for water use and management, built on resilient ecosystem services.

About BESS

Biodiversity & Ecosystem Service Sustainability (BESS) is a six-year (2011-2017), £15M NERC research programme, supported by BBSRC. The programme aims to answer fundamental questions about the functional role of biodiversity in key ecosystem processes and the delivery of ecosystem services at the landscape scale in 4 focal environments: lowland farmland, coastal wetlands, upland rivers and urban systems. The BESS programme  is co-ordinated by a directorate based at York. For further details of who is doing the research and where, and the key messages and publications emerging, please see http://nerc-bess.net