ESCom Series October: What has the concept of Ecosystem Services done for us? Taking Stock and Looking Forward

Wednesday, 12th October 2016
Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation

5pm- 7pm

Hosted by Kirsty Blackstock, James Hutton Institute & Marc Metzger, University of Edinburgh, join us for panel discussion and lively debate.

The concept of ecosystem services, first popularized by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005), has become entrenched in academic and policy rhetoric. Advocates claim that it draws attention to human dependence on natural capital and the way in which Nature underpins the every-day aspects of our lives, as well as the foundation of our developed and developing economies. Critics argue that the concept is new wine in old bottles, rehashing older debates about sustainability and limits to growth whilst providing a new route for academics to access funding and build their careers. One month after the latest Ecosystem Services Conference and its resultant Antwerp Declaration, it seems to be a good opportunity to reflect on how useful the concept of Ecosystem Services has been, and could be, for integrating science, policy and practice as we propose within ESCom.

We are delighted to welcome international discussants Robert Costanza and Ida Kubiszewski who will complement Scottish academic, policy, NGO and industry perspectives.  During the first hour we invite each panel member to give a short and informal talk on their understanding of the concept, how they use it in their work and the future for the concept as they see it. The second hour will comprise a facilitated discussion around questions submitted by the audience before or during the event.  The event will close with an informal wine reception. A distillation of the main discussion will be published as an ESCom Blog after the event whilst a video of the event will be available online for those who could not attend.


Ida Kubiszewski: a Senior Lecturer at the Crawford School of Public Policy at Australian National University. Her publication experience includes being the co-founder and former-managing editor of the Encyclopedia of Earth, an electronic reference about the Earth, its natural environments, and their interaction with society. She is also the Managing Editor of Ecological Economics Reviews, an annual publication providing in-depth reviews of the most timely and important issues in the field of Ecological Economics.




Robert Costanza: Chair of Public Policy at the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, Dr. Costanza is the author or co-author of over 500 scientific papers and 27 books. His work has been cited in more than 17,000 scientific articles and he has been named as one of ISI’s Highly Cited Researchers since 2004. More than 300 interviews and reports on his work have appeared in various popular media.  His specialties include: transdisciplinary integration, systems ecology, ecological economics, landscape ecology, ecological modeling, ecological design, energy analysis, environmental policy, social traps, incentive structures and institutions




Rebecca Badger: Environmental Economist, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).  Rebecca helps SEPA staff to take account of environmental, social and economic impacts in their decisions.  Her work includes site specific regulatory decisions, policy development and regulatory enforcement.  Rebecca aims to develop practical tools and methods that can be used by non-economists to make consistent, transparent and straightforward decisions.  She lives in the Scottish Highlands and am a locally elected member of the Cairngorms National Park Authority Board





Alessandro Gimona: Senior Researcher in Information and Computational Sciences at the James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen.  Alessandro is a spatial ecologist and a geographer with experience of both terrestrial and aquatic systems. He uses mechanistic and statistical modelling, as well as GIS and remote sensing technology,  to assess the trends in ecosystem services across the landscape and through time. Alessandro coordinates a Scottish Government research deliverable “Identifying and understanding multiple benefits and trade-offs - How can we identify resilient interventions for multiple benefits? “, as well as using his skills across other research on biodiversity and soils in Scotland and abroad. He has a strong interest in how science intersects with democratic decision making processes.


Bruce Wilson is Senior Policy Officer at the Scottish Wildlife Trust and manages the Trusts natural capital projects. Bruce was the principle organiser of the 2015 World Forum on Natural Capital. The World Forum brought together leading figures from business, government and civil society. The event is organised by the Scottish Wildlife Trust with support from United Nations Environment Programme, International Union for Conservation of Nature, World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Natural Capital Coalition. Bruce is responsible for overseeing the secretariat of the Scottish Forum on Natural Capital and Trusts work over a variety of policy areas and regularly contributes to working groups on ecosystem services and natural capital related projects. He has a background in agriculture, environment, policy and sustainability. Follow @Haddingtonbruce and @NatCapForum on Twitter.   




Morag Garden: Head of Sustainability & Innovation at the Scottish Whisky Association,  a role she took up in 2007.  Her career began, and has always remained, in the environmental lobbying arena working with a number of industry bodies.  Her career started in Scottish Water covering a range of roles from Laboratory through to Environmental policy.  She has also taken a number of secondment opportunities during her career, including a year with the Scottish Government developing Diffuse Pollution policy.  She was delighted to move from water to whisky 8 years ago and to be working for Scotland’s most exciting and first truly sustainable industry.  She moved to Edinburgh for University and has only ever been away for brief periods.  She is a jack of all trades when it comes to hobbies from climbing and walking through to Softball. Twitter: @ScotchWhiskySWA


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