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Nature of Scotland Award for innovative work to protect biodiversity

The new risk assessment presents a scorecard approach for wild species
"We’re very pleased as an Institute to contribute to the development of methods to assess species genetic diversity and contribute to the conservation of Scotland’s biodiversity"

A scientific team featuring researchers of the James Hutton Institute and Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland (BioSS) has scooped the Innovation Award at the prestigious RSPB Nature of Scotland Awards 2020. Led by Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, NatureScot and the University of Edinburgh, the team worked with 43 scientists from 18 organisations to establish a ‘world-first’ standardised risk assessment to identify genetic problems in wild species and to monitor and guide management responses to conserve genetic diversity.

The new risk assessment presents a scorecard approach for wild species of cultural and socioeconomic importance as a necessary component of a national framework which also encompasses agriculture, horticulture, and forestry. The goal is to promote long-term conservation of genetic diversity and address Aichi Target 13.

The Aichi Target 13 states that by 2020, the genetic diversity of cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and of wild relatives, including other socioeconomically as well as culturally valuable species, is maintained, and strategies have been developed and implemented for minimizing genetic erosion and safeguarding their genetic diversity.

Professor Robin Pakeman, a plant ecologist within the Institute’s Ecological Sciences department and part of the research team behind the project, said: “We’re very pleased as an Institute to contribute to the development of methods to assess species genetic diversity and contribute to the conservation of Scotland’s biodiversity.

“The broad team allowed for specialist contributions to be made, which included our efforts on native plant species and, in particular, crop wild relatives.”

The project was supported by SEFARI, the Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research Institutes, a consortium of six globally renowned research institutes including the James Hutton Institute and BioSS, which deliver the Scottish Government-funded Strategic Research Programme. 

The report Scotland’s Biodiversity Progress to 2020 Aichi Targets: Conserving Genetic Diversity – Development of a national approach for addressing Aichi Biodiversity Target 13 that includes wild species is available on the NatureScot website, and a short video produced by RBGE is available to watch online.

The James Hutton Institute is a supporter of the Nature of Scotland Awards, and in 2016 won the NoSA Innovation Award with the ‘Magic Margins’, a practical solution devised by the Hutton Farm, Field and Glasshouse team to safeguard soils from erosion.

Press and media enquiries: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, James Hutton Institute, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).


Printed from /news/nature-scotland-award-innovative-work-protect-biodiversity on 26/10/21 01:25:43 PM

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.