Protecting and enhancing natural capital

Natural capital is what we call our land, soil, water, animals and plants. All of these elements together form ecosystems, which support how we live and what we can grow. The climate and nature crises, together with certain types of human practices, have resulted in damage to our natural capital and ecosystems.

Our science provides insight and solutions to understand, mitigate and adapt to these changes to restore balance to our natural capital and ecosystems, ensuring that we can meet the needs of current and future populations. 

By understanding land systems, we are gaining insights into sustainable management of our natural resources, the threats they face and the opportunities they offer. We study the chemical, physical and biological processes and reactions that govern the composition of soil, water and living organisms and the social processes in environmental governance to: 

  • Co-design and implement novel approaches to the conservation of Scotland’s most iconic wild species and habitats.  
  • Apply natural capital thinking to Scottish landscapes, enabling land managers to realise the delivery of multiple benefits. 
  • Integrate knowledge of protection and enhancement of the health of soils into future sustainable land management systems. 
  • Develop innovative land systems linked to green infrastructure benefiting human and environmental health. 
  • Test innovative nature-based solutions in real-life situations including natural flood management.
  • Test and apply new monitoring and analytical techniques for organic pollutants in different environmental matrices. 
  • Guide best social and environmental practices in integrated catchment management.  

We are working to protect and enhance the resilience of ecosystems for multiple benefits.

Providing insight and solutions to understand, mitigate and adapt to restore balance to our natural capital, ensuring that we can meet the needs of current and future populations. 

How might climate change impact the ability of Nature to function and perform key processes such as carbon sequestration?
This project aims to support development of a proactive approach to water management under future environmental change.
Due to climate and biodiversity emergencies, there is a need to mitigate against changes and adapt to water-related environmental pressures.
Finding new ways to tackle complex policy issues at the nexus between water, energy and food resources
Transformative ecosystem restoration, mainstreaming Nature-based Solutions for the urgent systemic change of our society.
Natural capital valuation can offer a basis for decision-making and monitoring the effects of policies, land and resource management decisions.