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Biodiversity

This page is no longer updated. The information presented here formed part of our previous areas of research. This has included research carried out on behalf of our research partners, commerical contracts and also the Scottish Goverment's Strategic research programme during the period 2011 - 2016.

Scottish Goverment LogoWe have left these pages here to provide background information on our previous areas of research. Further details on the RESAS strategic programme of research (2016-21) will be made available.

Further details on why we archive pages can be found on the following page.

Wildflowers
Interactions between different components of our biodiversity are many and complex, and losses or gains at one level may have a multitude of knock-on effects.

The term biodiversity describes the diversity of life on Earth. Diversity can occur at a number of levels of biological organisation, from genes, through to individuals, populations, species, communities and entire ecosystems.

Significant losses in biodiversity have been documented in the UK and around the world over the last 50 plus years. These changes have largely been due to human activities, for example changes in land use, farming methods, pollution and climate change. Changes in the way humans use the earth’s resources will influence what species occur, where they occur, their abundance and how they function in terms of providing ecosystem services.

Interactions between different components of our biodiversity are many and complex, and losses or gains at one level may have a multitude of knock-on effects. It is important to understand these interactions and the implications of changes at one level to the dynamics of all other levels of biological diversity, so that we can inform management and guide restoration, whether it is action to restore habitats or to reintroduce or remove specific species, for example.

The James Hutton Institute has an international reputation in biodiversity research and application. Our research aims to improve our understanding of how drivers of change, such as land-use, pollution and climate change, impact on biodiversity and the ecosystem services provided by biodiversity. This knowledge helps us to advise policy makers, land managers, conservationists and other stakeholders on methods to help safeguard our natural capital and to improve the resilience of species and habitats to environmental change.

Our current research includes the following.

  • Understanding the role of biodiversity in delivering ecosystem services.
  • Developing methods to predict the delivery of ecosystem services from biodiversity.
  • Assessing the impact of government policies on biodiversity.
  • Assessing the short and longer term impacts of drivers of change (climate, pollution, grazing and other land management) on biodiversity.
  • Developing methods to restore damaged ecosystems and habitats.
  • Assessing the impact of introduced or non-native biodiversity on native biodiversity and the production of ecosystem services.
  • Assessing the impact of species reintroductions.

Outputs from our work on biodiversity can be found on our Research Outputs page.

Research

Areas of Interest


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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.