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The Land Use and Ecosystem Services Research Group provides services to the forestry and environment sectors in the following areas:
These services are focussed on generating ecological, environmental, and social evidence and knowledge. We do experimental work, talk to people, and derive new evidence from existing data. For example, our work on WrEN and Peatland ecosystem services will provide clear evidence on forest impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems and the environment. Other work with foresters and the general public in Lochaber will provide important knowledge on the understanding, use and value of ecosystem services in forested landscapes.
For these services, we use evidence and knowledge to develop methods and models that help us to better understand and predict complex systems.
For example, we use species records and expert knowledge to develop habitat suitability models that predict species distributions. Similarly, we model the demand and supply of ecosystem services such as recreation, carbon storage and water quality regulation using the best available data, knowledge and statistical tools.
We also synthesise extensive field datasets and complicated models and translate them into simple indicators to communicate to decision makers. For instance, the Ecological Site Classification (ESC) is a good example of the translation of scientific evidence into an intuitive format to support evidence-based forest planning and management.
We use evidence/knowledge and methods/models to answer forestry and land use policy and practice questions and support decision-making. This takes the form of tools, such as ESC, a service or application.
For example, the work in Strathard is examining the application and utility of ecosystem service indicators in assisting the integrated management of the Strathard landscape by working with a number of key stakeholders. Insights from this work area will feed back into other work areas, for instance identifying evidence gaps, the need for refined models and methods, or better ways to communicate outputs.
We are also using evidence and methods from our landscape ecology work to provide a habitat network service (HaNS) to help planning authorities and developers meet their legal responsibilities for European protected species.
To optimise communication of our varied and diverse work to the wider research community and to better engage potential stakeholders we have begun developing online applications which will provide an attractive and user-friendly front-end to many of our models and specialised datasets. To date we have developed applications that enable the user to explore and manipulate data corresponding to:
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