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Q&A - Beware ecosystem services for nature conservation: lessons from fieldwork and spatial modelling

3 Jun Trees

Speaker: Mark Mulligan

Abstract: We have great expectations of wild nature to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals and to repair our damaged Earth systems, whilst also supporting large and prosperous human populations. There are a variety of plans in place to keep some of wild nature to deliver on these expectations, but are conservation targets aiming high enough for nature to provide what we need of her?

In this talk I will show how conservation organisations have moved wholesale from being driven by conservation of nature for its own sake to a focus on conservation of nature for our sake: as exemplified by the focus on ecosystem services and nature based solutions to all manner of ills, including natural climate solutions.

I show, using examples based on field monitoring (using pervasive low-cost, connected environmental sensing) and spatial modelling (with the Co$tingNature, WaterWorld and Eco:Actuary platforms), that we need to beware of assuming the vestigial nature we are currently willing to protect will be able to deliver what humanity needs, where and when we need it.

Moreover, a focus on protecting nature to deliver on the SDGs, through provision of ecosystem services, may not protect the wilderness landscapes and rich biodiversity that we also value in nature and which provide other benefits. The geographic distribution of biodiversity and many of the most important ecosystem services do not overlap at all.

Much more ambitious conservation targets are required if green infrastructure is to deliver on the SDGs and these need to focus on conservation of nature for its own sake as well as ours. These targets have to move beyond protected areas to other effective conservation measures - in human dominated landscapes. A more realistic view on what green infrastructure can and cannot deliver to people and what will still need to be provided by our own grey infrastructure is also required.



Accessing this event

Please contact the event organiser for a link to this presentation and Q&A session. You will be able to view it until the Q&A session at 16:00 on Wednesday 3rd June 2020.

About this speaker

Dr Mark Mulligan completed his undergraduate degree in geography at the University of Bristol from 1988-1991. After a brief period in the rainforests of Brunei with the then Royal Geographical Society (RGS) Brunei Rainforest Expedition, he moved to King’s for his PhD on 'Modelling hydrology and vegetation change in a degraded semi-arid area', supervised by Professor John Thornes.

Mark took up the post of Lecturer in Geography at King’s in September 1994 at the age of 24 and has been teaching and researching in the Department since, with a year (2003-2004) research secondment to Istituto di Botanica, Universita' di Napoli, Italy.

In 2003, Mark was appointed Reader in Geography and in 2004 was awarded the Royal Geographical Society – Institute of British Geographers Gill Memorial Award for ‘innovative monitoring and modelling’ of environmental systems.

Mark is an honorary fellow at the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), adjunct Doctoral Graduate Faculty at Texas State University 2007-2012, and trustee of PROAVES UK

At this event

Mark Mulligan

Mark Mulligan

Head of the Department of Geography

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