Blogs Archive - Page 3 of 3 - James Hutton Institute


Updates on our research, collaborations and exciting contributions from our scientists and experts.

Major flood events cause significant and long-lasting disruption to lives. Our research suggests we’re going to experience the impacts of such extreme events more often, as we share increasingly busy spaces with the natural world. But there are some measures we can take to soften those impacts. It starts with understanding what causes flooding.

We all have an older family member who we’ve tried – and failed – to persuade to use aids, from walking sticks to hearing aids, that we think would make their lives easier. When they live further away from us, or more remotely, offering support can be even harder and it’s becoming an increasing issue.

Aberdeen is blessed with many fine trees, but a recent hunch has led to one being measured – and discovered to be the city’s tallest. Hidden away in Craigiebuckler, in the picturesque grounds of independent research organisation The James Hutton Institute, the Sitka spruce has long thought to have been a prize specimen.

Population decline in Scotland’s sparsely populated and rural areas, as highlighted in the Herald’s special investigation last week, is a perennial challenge. It’s a topic that we and colleagues have been studying at The James Hutton institute, both in Scotland and further afield, for several years.

Scotland is well known for its weather. We’re used to rain and snow as well as dry spells. But these weather patterns are changing. What could this mean for how we live? We undertook research, on behalf of the Scottish Government, looking at how the climate has changed since 1960 and how it’s expected to change in coming decades out to 2080.

Green finance has become a new buzz phrase; an economic lever to help drive environmental solutions that address the climate and ecological crises. Here in Scotland, it’s an idea already being put into practise, with initiatives like the Facility for Investment Ready in Nature in Scotland (FIRNS) programme.

Around this time of year, on a very rainy winter’s day a couple of years ago, I was visiting a dairy farm in east Scotland. Grazing was important to the farmers’ system for keeping his costs down, but he told me that, in recent years, more rain coming in unpredictable patterns was making it harder to rely on grazing as the driver of milk production on his farm.