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agroecology

November 11, 2015

Ecological Sciences (Research Page)

Ecological Sciences (ES) is a multi-disciplinary collective of over 56 researchers with a unique breadth of scientific expertise, skills and knowledge in the ecology, physiology and systematics of microbes, lichens, fungi, plants, invertebrates...
June 6, 2021
Join us at Arable Scotland on 29th June for a virtual Arable Conversation with Pete Iannetta (James Hutton Institute), Ed Brown (Hutchinsons), Dick Neale (Hutchinsons), Christine Watson (SRUC) and Paul Hargreaves (SRUC), which will look at...
June 6, 2021
Arable Scotland, the premier event for the Scottish arable industry, returns on 29th June 2021. Now in its third year, the event brings together the key players in food production, academia and farming to discuss key issues and provide a wealth...
June 6, 2021
The James Hutton Institute is delighted to support one of seven Climate Beacons that are taking shape across Scotland in the run-up to and beyond the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference that’s happening in Glasgow this November.
May 5, 2021
Legume plants can make ‘smart’ management decisions when it comes to interacting with their symbiotic bacterial partners to harness nitrogen from the atmosphere, a research team including a James Hutton Institute scientist has shown,...
May 5, 2021
From one little seed, planted into soil, many green lives can arise – from small herbs up to big trees, or from ornamental flowers to substantial crops which all animals and humans need to survive on this planet. Plant biologists estimate...
April 4, 2021
Even if it has not yet been detected north of the border, Scottish growers must take adequate steps to monitor growing areas for the brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys), a new potential threat to the UK’s agricultural,...
March 3, 2021
A series of eight free-to-attend webinars and networking events will explore the many opportunities surrounding legume production and use. The webinars series will take in April and May this year and are being organised by the European...
March 3, 2021
The James Hutton Institute has welcomed the publication of the new 10-year UK Plant Science Research Strategy. The document provides a framework for research and skills development to ensure UK plant science can play a strong role in solving...
March 3, 2021
A recent study published in Conservation Letters co-authored by a James Hutton Institute ecologist has investigated the number of women and the geographic distribution among the 1051 top-publishing authors in 13 leading journals in ecology and...
January 1, 2021
As part of the EU Horizon 2020 research project DIVERSify, researchers of the James Hutton Institute and partner institutions have been working on investigating the viability of species mixture cropping as an alternative to crop monoculture....
August 8, 2020
Researchers at the James Hutton Institute and partner institutions are developing a suite of digital resources to help farmers harness the potential of crop mixtures to improve the sustainability of their production systems.
November 11, 2019
Research by agricultural scientists in Scotland and beyond has shown that intercropping, i.e. growing two or more crop species together in ‘plant teams’, can improve agricultural sustainability by stabilising or increasing crop yields...
November 11, 2019
Scientists of the James Hutton Institute recently visited China on a fact-finding mission to see how the Institute might collaborate with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) to improve soybean cropping in China through better...
October 10, 2019
An innovative research project aims to demonstrate the benefits of using crop species mixtures as a sustainable crop production system. The Sustainability in Education and Agriculture using Mixtures (SEAMS) initiative is providing a platform for...
October 10, 2019
A new study published today in PLOS Pathogens by scientists at the Moredun Research Institute, the University of Edinburgh, Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland and international partners, has shown that a specific toxin produced by naturally-...
August 8, 2019
Arable Scotland 2 July 2020 Online
August 8, 2019
Scientists of the James Hutton Institute will meet with European colleagues to discuss all scientific aspects of diversifying agricultural and food systems, on the practical implementation of crop diversification in value chains and on policy-...
May 5, 2019
The James Hutton Institute is teaming up with Soil Association Scotland and Scotland's Rural College for a special crofting meeting of the Plant Teams Field Lab event series on the Isle of Lismore, looking at how intercropping can help...
March 3, 2019
Dr Mario Vallejo-Marin (University of Stirling) will deliver this Aberdeen Entomological Club seminar entitled “Buzz Pollination”. It will be held at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee (and screened to the Institute’s Aberdeen...
January 1, 2019
Researchers based at the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen have contributed to a study which has found that pollutants cause ‘worrying’ changes in sheep livers.
December 12, 2018
  What is the story with woodlands in the Cairngorms National Park? Or should we say, what are the stories, as there are many threads of stories of actual, former or speculative woodlands weaving in and out that make this area what it...
December 12, 2018
Arable Scotland 2 July 2019 Balruddery Farm, Dundee
November 11, 2018
Alasdair Lemon from Buglife will deliver this Entomological Club seminar entitled “Marvellous Mud Snails”. It will be held at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee (and screened to the Institute’s Aberdeen site).
September 9, 2018
The James Hutton Institute is teaming up with the Soil Association Scotland on a field lab, part of a Europe-wide project, to trial crop mixtures or ‘plant teams’. Researchers want to test the potential that inter-cropping peas and...
September 9, 2018
The James Hutton Institute is teaming with Soil Association Scotland and Scotland's Rural College to work with farmers in a Field Lab to trial crop mixtures or ‘plant teams’. Field Labs are free to attend and open to all land...
July 7, 2018
Farmers and land managers can improve agricultural productivity by using crop mixtures and taking into consideration the role of evolution in shaping the plants they grow, new research by James Hutton Institute scientists and partners at ETH...
April 4, 2018
Norman Defoe will deliver this Aberdeen Entomological Club seminar entitled “Fleas”. It will be held at the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen (and screened to the Institute’s Dundee site). Fleas are of medical and veterinary...
February 2, 2018
Scientists from the James Hutton Institute have developed a screening system which uses transparent soil technology to help fight nematodes - microscopic worms that are harmful to plants, damaging about 10% of susceptible crops and causing...
January 1, 2018
Daniel Leybourne from our Ecological Sciences Group will deliver this Entomological Club seminar entitled “Plant-aphid-environment interactions”. It will be held at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee (and screened to the Institute...
January 1, 2018
Cereals in Practice is the annual showcase of variety trials and research organised by the James Hutton Institute, SRUC (Scotland's Rural College) and the Scottish Society for Crop Research.
October 10, 2017
Katrina Dainton from Forest Research will deliver this Aberdeen Entomological Club seminar entitled “A tale of two beetles”. It will be held at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee (and screened to the Institute’s Aberdeen site...
September 9, 2017
Research into organic phosphorus is key to ensure future food security and environmental sustainability, according to an international group of scientists led by researchers at the James Hutton Institute, Lancaster University’s Environment...
September 9, 2017
Research projects aiming to provide land managers with alternatives for efficient land management of upland systems will be presented at an event titled "The Challenge of Marginal Land: efficient utilisation of the managed natural...
May 5, 2017
The James Hutton Institute and the University of Dundee are taking part in the international Fascination of Plants Day on Sunday 21st May with a celebration of the power of plants. The free 'Plant Power’ event set amidst the...
February 2, 2017
Consumption of berries may have beneficial effects on health related to type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, neurodegenerative diseases and cancers. The beneficial effects may be due to the presence of protective polyphenol...
January 1, 2017

Background (Page)

The long-term viability of farming in Scotland depends on the sustainable management of our agricultural habitats. We need to achieve a balance between maximising crop production, conserving arable biodiversity and maintaining ecosystem functions...
December 12, 2016
Scientists at the James Hutton Institute have welcomed the Scottish Government's decision to allow beavers to remain in Argyll and Tayside as a protected species, but warned continued long-term monitoring and active management in...
November 11, 2016
Only 1 day to go! We're looking forward to welcoming all our delegates to Dundee. The next meeting of the IOBC-WPRS Working Group, in conjunction with the British Ecological Society Agricultural Ecology Special Interest Group, will be held...
October 10, 2016

Potatosize (Research Page)

The PotatoSize app provides potato growers with information on the proportion of their crop that lies within each size range of interest. It uses image analysis to interpret a photo of potatoes sampled in the field. Development was in partnership...
September 9, 2016
More needs to be done to promote sustainable food production if we are to solve the apparent conflict between the interests of nature and those of modern agriculture, according to researchers at the James Hutton Institute. This warning comes in...
May 5, 2016
A research project that aims to develop mycological capacity and promote sustainable resource management in the Lao People's Democratic Republic has made significant progress, with two researchers from the National University of Laos (NUoL)...
May 5, 2016
The James Hutton Institute and the University of Dundee are coming together in the name of ‘Plant Power’. They will be hosting an event on Saturday May 21st at Dundee Botanic Garden to highlight how fascinating plants are and how...
February 2, 2016
Ainoa Pravia from the Ecological Sciences Group, James Hutton Institute, will deliver this Aberdeen Entomological Club seminar entitled “Evaluating peatland management for multiple ecosystem services”. It will be held at the James...
January 1, 2016
Juliette Dinning will deliver this Aberdeen Entomological Club seminar entitled “Dragonflies and damselflies of north east Scotland”. It will be held at the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen (and screened to the Institute’s...
January 1, 2016
Dr Jenni Stockan from the Environmental and Biochemical Sciences Group, James Hutton Institute, will deliver this Aberdeen Entomological Club seminar entitled “Dispelling the myths: a new look at wood ants”. It will be held at the...
January 1, 2016
The croplands around Scotland’s coasts are an ancient form of managed land. Hunting communities occupied the area after the last ice retreated. Farmers arrived 5000-6000 years ago, bringing their crop seed with them. For thousands of years...
December 12, 2015

Staff and Students (Research Page)

Staff For students, follow the link here: Students
October 10, 2015

Our Science (Research Page)

October 10, 2015

Research Facilities (Research Page)

September 9, 2015
Protein dense yard-long beans offer an affordable source of vitamins, particularly in South Asia where the crops thrive. However, the bean pod borer, Maruca vitrata, threatens the production of these vitamin-rich legumes, with potential...
June 6, 2015
Members of the public are being asked to help researchers pinpoint just how far a species that wound up in the UK unintentionally has travelled across the country. The New Zealand Flatworm arrived on British soil over half a century ago but...
May 5, 2015
Fancy a great day out in Dundee? Do you want to learn where your food comes from? Then don’t miss Open Farm Sunday on 7 June, 10am to 4pm, when the James Hutton Institute will open its site in Invergowrie to visitors of all ages.
May 5, 2015
In this seminar, hosted by Courtney Giles and Tim George from our Ecological Sciences group, ​Dr Federica Tamburini (ETH Zurich) will discuss a novel technique that uses oxygen stable isotopes to investigate the P cycle in the soil/plant...
March 3, 2015
A study carried out over a 10-year period by ecologists at the James Hutton Institute and the universities of Hull and Aberdeen has shown that grazing a mixture of sheep and cattle, at low intensity, is the best approach for maintaining...
March 3, 2015
Land use and ecological surveys are urgently required to assess the ecology of pollinating insects within and around agricultural systems in India. That is one of the aims of the UK-Indian Initiative in Agroecology, whose first meeting at the...
March 3, 2015
Dr Jack A Gilbert, leader of the Hospital Microbiome Project, Earth Microbiome Project, Home Microbiome Project, and co-founder of American Gut will be visiting Dundee to deliver the 2015 CLS/Hutton Distinguished Lecture on Tuesday 21 April...
March 3, 2015
This seminar by Professor Gabriele Bammer will discuss our ability to contribute effectively to the resolution of complex real-world problems, and will propose the development of a new science discipline around integration and implementation....
February 2, 2015
We all think we have some idea of what ‘natural’ is, whether it’s the green meadows we pass by on the train or the fresh and colourful vegetables we pick out in the market. However, our countryside and the food we eat are the...
February 2, 2015
Plant diseases cost the world enough food to feed at least half a billion people, equivalent to 100 times the population of Scotland, every year. The interaction between plants, microbes and insects is a key battleground in the global fight for...
January 1, 2015

Books and Book Chapters (Research Page)

Water Ecosystem Services - A Global Perspective
January 1, 2015
Senior soil ecologist Dr Helaina Black has been appointed to the leadership of the Ecological Sciences group at the James Hutton Institute, following the retirement of Dr Pete Goddard.
November 11, 2014
Researchers from the Agricultural Institute of Slovenia (AIS) visited the James Hutton Institute as part of the CropSustaIn project, which looks into alternatives for sustainable crop production in Slovenia in the face of global change. The...
November 11, 2014
Conservation heroes from across the country were honoured last night at the third annual RSPB Nature of Scotland Awards, where Professor Iain Gordon, Chief Executive of the James Hutton Institute, presented the Innovation Award to the Native...
October 10, 2014
Introduction to Soils Exploring Scotland's Soils
October 10, 2014
Soils & Sustainable production
September 9, 2014
International agricultural journalists had a unique opportunity to see environmental science in action at the James Hutton Institute farm at Glensaugh, as part of the activities organised during the International Federation of Agricultural...
August 8, 2014
A scientist from the James Hutton Institute has been named the best young mycologist in Europe and joined an elite group of only six researchers around the world to be awarded a similar accolade for their continent. Dr Alison Bennett, a...
May 5, 2014
James Hutton Institute senior research entomologist, Professor Nick Birch, has been nominated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to present his Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programme for raspberries and its...
May 5, 2014
A new EU training-partnership including the James Hutton Institute aims to promote wild plant conservation underpinned by the use of native plant seeds. The programme will train a new generation of higher level researchers, improve the...
May 5, 2014
Farmers could improve the efficiency of phosphorus in crop production by coupling plants with complementary traits, which would allow them to harness the ‘phosphorus bank’ already present in soils.
April 4, 2014
   
February 2, 2014
Introduction
February 2, 2014
A case study on sustainable agriculture and the environment at the James Hutton Institute
January 1, 2014
A workshop was held at Birnam Arts and Conference Centre on 20 November 2013 to provide an update on research being conducted as part of the Vibrant Rural Communities theme of the Food, Land and People Strategic Research programme, funded by...
January 1, 2014

LandSFACTS downloads (Research Page)

The LandSFACTS software is available in several formats: with graphical interface, helpfile and tutorial [XP, W7], cf. below command-line [XP, W7, W7 x64, Linux x64], by request dynamic libraries [XP, W7, W7 x64, Linux x64], by request...
January 1, 2014

LandSFACTS publications (Research Page)

Publications relating to the LandSFACTS model.
January 1, 2014
The LandsFACTS model was originally (v1.6) set up to simulate cropping systems at the landscape scale. Since 2007, it was further developed to allow modelling land uses at multiple scales within an evolving environment. The diagram below presents...
January 1, 2014

LandSFACTS (Research Page)

LANDscape Scale Functional Allocation of Crops Temporally and Spatially
January 1, 2014
Environmental, economic and social issues associated with agriculture are often fundamental for rural prosperity and sustainability, with consequent implications for any debate about future land use. A key to supporting the planning of change is...
January 1, 2014
Stakeholder engagement events relating to theme topics Health and wellbeing conferences and workshops Date Title Theme role Venue 25 November 2013
November 11, 2013
A promising area for managing insect pests is through improved understanding of the importance of microbes associated with insects. Many insect species rely on symbiotic bacteria for their survival and these ‘hidden players’ residing...
November 11, 2013

Agroecology publications (Research Page)

Below is a sample of recent peer reviewed publications by staff working in the Agroecology Group. 
November 11, 2013

Agroecology funding (Research Page)

November 11, 2013

Students and teaching (Research Page)

November 11, 2013
We are mainly biologists, quantitative ecologists and mathematical modellers, whose scales of interest range from landscape to community and organism. Recent changes
November 11, 2013
November 11, 2013
Exploiting genetic variation in the ability of plants to resist or tolerate attack by pests and pathogens has long been a focus of crop breeding programmes, although the genetic basis for plant resistance is often poorly-understood. However,...
October 10, 2013
Expertise and capability at the James Hutton institute, Dundee
September 9, 2013

IPM in the agroecosystem (Research Page)

IPM is also about managing the other species in agroecosystem and not just the crop and visible weeds, pathogens, pests and their symptoms. It should also include management of:
September 9, 2013
This seminar given by Gerard Duc and Pascal Marget of INRA, France at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee, will mostly addressing plant breeding and agronomy for an audience of scientists, breeders or advisers. It will be broadcast live to the...
April 4, 2013
The core dataset of soil, plant and invertebrate data and samples that are collected every year from the CSC are archived and databased for future research projects on long-term trends and to allow exploration of links between different...
October 10, 2012
October 10, 2012
July 7, 2012

Transparent soils (Research Page)

June 6, 2012
Background and objectives
June 6, 2012

Mountain hares (Research Page)

The Scottish mountain hare, Lepus timidus scoticus, is a subspecies of the mountain hare Lepus timidus and is native to the Highlands of Scotland. Although widespread throughout Scotland, they are typically more numerous in central and eastern...
March 3, 2012
The experiment involves 24 grazing enclosures, measuring 3.3 ha each. There are four grazing treatments with six replicates of each. These are positioned in three blocks of two replicates each, located in different parts of the estate and...
February 2, 2012
E-SMART: Environmental Sensing for Monitoring and Advising in Real-Time
January 1, 2012
An annual report on all Centre for Sustainable Cropping projects and activities is published in January for the previous calendar year (available on request).
January 1, 2012
To avoid duplication of effort or potential interference between projects, we have put in place the following procedure for new projects on the CSC. 1. Discuss your project requirements with the co-ordinator (Cathy Hawes).
December 12, 2011

Tools (Research Page)

We are developing systems for live imaging of plant processes. We develop new substrate that facilitate observation of roots and apply a range of imaging techniques to make quantitative measurements. We have developed OPT and...
December 12, 2011

Plant Soil Ecology (Research Page)

Increasing global demand for food, feed and energy crops requires sustainable intensification of agriculture, which must occur without impact on biodiversity or the environment. We have a strong research team that integrates knowledge of...
November 11, 2011

Soil forensics (Research Page)

November 11, 2011

Contact (Page)

If you are interested in contributing to the Centre for Sustainable Cropping and would like to make use of this long-term resource, please contact Cathy Hawes in the first instance. For more information please follow the following links for:
November 11, 2011

News (Page)

Members of the team can access agendas and actions for Centre for Sustainable Cropping meetings here (from within The James Hutton Institute) or here (if accessing from outwith the Institute).
November 11, 2011
Agroecology Graham Begg: Landscape scale population dynamics of plant, arthropod and mammal taxa; patterns of habitat use and dispersal between them; spatial population dynamic models. Measurements: Plant, arthropod and mammal fitness, resource...
November 11, 2011
Soil temperature and moisture content are influenced by soil management and affect many system processes including microbial and invertebrate activity, nutrient and water uptake by plants and plant growth. These variables are measured in each...
November 11, 2011
All farm operations and inputs are recorded for each crop and treatment. Economic sustainability will be assessed through calculations of gross margins based on all input costs (seed, fertiliser, crop protection, tractor time and fuel use)....
November 11, 2011
The primary goal of sustainable arable management is to produce good quality food at high yields and with high long-term yield stability. To achieve this, the environment in which the crop is grown needs to be maintained rather than degraded by...
November 11, 2011
November 11, 2011

Soil (Page)

Soil Microbial Diversity
November 11, 2011

Insects (Page)

Pitfall Trapping
November 11, 2011
Perennial vegetation in the field margin is a major contributor to biodiversity in arable landscapes and performs a range of important functions including provision of resources for pollinators and natural enemies that forage within arable fields...
November 11, 2011

Weeds (Page)

Within-field Weeds Weeds are an essential component of arable biodiversity, respond rapidly to changes in management and influence many system processes including nutrient retention and cycling, pest and natural enemy population stability, and...
November 11, 2011

Datasets (Page)

The basic minimum dataset to be collected and archived from the Centre for Sustainable Cropping every year is listed below. This will form a long-term, spatially referenced dataset, collected according to standardised sampling protocols (...
November 11, 2011
Data from the published literature and existing field trials are used to select management options for inclusion in the sustainable cropping system. Each is chosen with a view to improving specific aspects of environmental and economic...
November 11, 2011

Agroecology (Research Page)

Latest .... major success so far in EU H2020 bids .... TRUE, DIVERSIFY and TOMRES .... details to follow .... Newton projects begin March 2017 ....  success for doctoral students ...
May 5, 2011
May 5, 2011
The Centre for Sustainable Cropping comprises a 42 hectare block of six fields in the south-east of Balruddery Farm. The effects of sustainable (S) versus conventional (C) cropping systems are tested using a split-field design over multiple six...
May 5, 2011
For all enquiries and for access to fields, data or archived material, please contact Dr Cathy Hawes The Centre for Sustainable Cropping is an experimental research platform at Balruddery Farm near Dundee, Scotland.  The farm platform...
March 3, 2011
Balruddery Research Farm is an 170 ha arable farm located seven miles west of Dundee and between 70 and 124m above sea level on the lower slopes of the Sidlaw Hills. There are 23 fields varying in size from 2.0 ha to 11 ha. The soil is a sandy...
March 3, 2011
At Glensaugh we have started calving our suckler cows. The latest bovine celebrity is L5 who calved a pair of Charolais twins. Multiple births in hill cows are regarded as a disaster because the demands of two calves (who incidentally are doing...
March 3, 2011
At Glensaugh a new production year has begun with the tupping of our ewes with the tupps (rams) introduced into the Cheviot and blackface flocks. The date for the tupping of hill ewes is “set in stone” (usually 22 November). What is...

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.