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Ecosystem Services Partnership Conference

Project delegation convene a session at ESP Europe 2022


Dr Niamh McHugh of The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust presents on Farmer Clusters | ©Taskscape Media / Taskscape Associates Ltd


A Framework delegation represented the project at the 4th Europe Conference of the Ecosystem Services Partnership in Heraklion, Greece between 10-14 October.


The theme of the conference was Ecosystem Services Empowering People and Societies in Times of Crises. It was a fantastic opportunity to contribute to this topic drawing on the project's expertise, perspectives and work to date. As well as a chance to raise the profile of Framework and talk to the wide range of attendees from diverse backgrounds interested in how Natural Capital is valued: scientifically, economically, socially and culturally.


The project's session was convened by Simone Martino, Senior Researcher in Valuing Natural Capital at Hutton and Dr Benedetto Rugani, Senior Research & Technology Associate in Environmental Sustainability Analysis at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology.


Dr Graham Begg, Project Coordinator at The James Hutton Institute gave the audience an overview of Framework's activities researching how to better value land-based producers' Natural Capital, as well as working with farmer clusters on the ground, and bringing together stakeholders in our food system.


He found the event valuable as an opportunity to meet and touch base with the Ecosystems Research community and explore the latest developments and share ideas, reporting:


The team from FRAMEwork went to Crete with the intention of sharing our take on the importance of natural capital and ecosystem services in agricultural systems, and the way in which a collective approach to management at the landscape scale could help to conserve them. In return, we were delighted by the level of interest received and the thoughtful and enthusiastic engagement that came from the ESP community. When not discussing FRAMEwork directly, we were able to listen to the many, many excellent talks that made up the rich and comprehensive programme. We went away confident in the importance of the questions we are addressing and the value of the approaches being taken but also invigorated by the potential of new ideas.


Dr Niamh McHugh, Lead of Work Package Two: Advanced Farmer Clusters, provided more information on our clusters active across different regions and sectors of land-based food production.


Simone Martino discussed integrating Natural Capital in socio-ecological farm systems for gaining sustainability and wellbeing in EU farmer clusters and invited presenters to contribute from outside the project.


Gerid Hager, lead of WP3 at The International Institute For Advanced Systems Analysis spoke about the role of citizen science in supporting farmers and rural communities develop and leverage data-rich understandings of their natural resources.


Annely Holm, a Farmer and Ecologist at the Estonian University of Life Sciences, presented on Restoring the connectivity of seminatural grasslands on Muhu island, Estonia, through the LIFE project connecting meadows.


Theo Simmons from Taskscape Associates, Project Partner for Communication, Participation and Knowledge Exchange, drew on media interviews with project farmers to share perspectives and learnings on communicating about Natural Capital's value in our Agrifood system.




The sessions attendees were engaged by the topics and the project's work. An interesting panel discussion featuring speakers and members of the project ended the session. A recording of the panel discussion was made as part of media capture at the conference for outputs including a Foodlands Podcast Special Episode on Natural Capital. Audience members ranged from farmers, sector veterans and early career social and life scientists working to move knowledge and collaboration in these areas forward and to inform policy.


We're grateful to them for responding to the ambitions and interdisciplinary workings of Framework and asking excellent questions from their different perspectives. As the ESP write:


The science of ecosystem services has come of age globally. The data revolution of the last decades has allowed us to measure, quantify, model, and map human-nature interactions; yet to use all this information to support public and private decision-making remains a challenge. The latest compounded global crises – humanitarian, military, financial, environmental, and the COVID pandemic – highlighted the potential and limitations of individuals and communities to advance social-economic support, social-ecological resilience and adaptation to changes.

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