Looking to the Future for Emerging Threats and Opportunities

Yesterday the BES Policy Officer joined a group of academics, policy advisors, conservationists and professional horizon scanners at a workshop in Cambridge, aiming to identify a suite of issues which are on the horizon for the conservation community.

Following on from Professor Bill Sutherland’s (University of Cambridge) ‘100 Questions’ exercises, the aim is that the horizon scan will become an annual exercise and help to better inform, and enthuse, the ecological community about the benefits of taking a forward look. The list of issues generated are not meant to be exhaustive but are a representation of those issues emerging likely to have an impact on biodiversity and ecosystem services. The criteria for inclusion were that the issues should be interesting and, above all, informative: few in the conservation community should have heard of them. The paper will be published in TREE early in 2010.

The meeting was followed by a lecture delivered by Hilary Benn MP, Secretary of State for the Environment, delivered to mark the launch of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative. The CCI is a collaboration between the university, conservation organisations and NGOs in the city and provides an innovative hub for dialogue and debate. Mr Benn delivered a rallying cry to ecologists, calling on them to contact him directly with ideas on successors to the 2010 biodiversity target. This is something which the BES certainly plans to follow up.

At the drinks reception afterwards there was an opportunity for the horizon scanning group to present the Secretary of State with the list of horizon scanning issues identified and to briefly talk him through each one.

If BES members would like to contribute issues and ideas for the 2010 horizon scanning exercise, please email Policy@BritishEcologicalSociety.org or contribute via the BES Forum section of this website.