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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

IAS Fellow's Public Lecture - Valuing ecosystem services to manage agriculture, forestry, biodiversity and human needs

1st March 2011, 20:30 to 21:30, Kenworthy Hall, St Mary's College, Professor Rik Leemans (University of Wageningen)

The increase and intensification of human activities over the last decades has led to extensive deforestation, changes in climate, declines in biodiversity and the persistence of poverty, water scarcity and food insecurity. Many topical and integrated assessments have quantified these trends and their consequences and analysed their causes. Some also provided approaches and scenarios to address these problems. I will explain a promising recent approach of identifying ecosystems services.

A proper ecosystem services' analysis specifies all the benefits that people obtain from species and ecosystems, and explicitly determines the importance of biodiversity for human well-being.  An explicit recognition of ecosystem services could facilitate recognition of the multiple roles of species, ecosystems and landscapes, and help to reduce resource conflicts and improve the livelihoods of many people depending on ecosystem services in the near future.

Rik Leemans heads the Environmental Systems Analysis group of Wageningen University, directs the WIMEK graduate school and chairs the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP). ESSP combines the knowledge of all international Global-Change Research Programmes for managing carbon, water, food and human Health. His main research interests concern biodiversity, land-use change, biogeochemical cycles, ecosystem services, vulnerability and sustainable development.  Professor Leemans is an IAS Fellow, hosted by St Mary's College. For further information please visit: 


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