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Biodiversity

Farm performance and climate

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, May 15, 2017
Abstract in English: 
This study examines the effect of climate variability and climate change on the productivity of Australian cropping farms between 1977–78 and 2014–15. The productivity of Australian cropping farms is heavily affected by climate variability, particularly the occurrence of droughts. While Australian farmers are well accustomed to managing this variability, the emergence of climate change is presenting some new challenges.
This study combines ABARES farm survey data with spatial climate data to estimate the effect of climate conditions (such as, rainfall and temperature) on cropping farm TFP (Total Factor Productivity, i.e the combined productivity of labor and capital). The study then presents climate adjusted productivity estimates with the effects of climate removed. For comparison, similar results are generated for farm wheat yields using the same data sources and methods.
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71
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The Global Risks Report 2018

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Abstract in English: 
Last year’s Global Risks Report was published at a time of heightened global uncertainty and strengthening popular discontent with the existing political and economic order. The report called for “fundamental reforms to market capitalism” and a rebuilding of solidarity within and between countries. One year on, a global economic recovery is under way, offering new opportunities for progress that should not be squandered: the urgency of facing up to systemic challenges has, if anything, intensified amid proliferating indications of uncertainty, instability and fragility.
Humanity has become remarkably adept at understanding how to mitigate conventional risks that can be relatively easily isolated and managed with standard risk management approaches. But we are much less competent when it comes to dealing with complex risks in the interconnected systems that underpin our world, such as organizations, economies, societies and the environment. There are signs of strain in many of these systems: our accelerating pace of change is testing the absorptive capacities of institutions, communities and individuals. When risk cascades through a complex system, the danger is not of incremental damage but of “runaway collapse” or an abrupt transition to a new, suboptimal status quo.
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80
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Foresight Future of the Sea

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Abstract in English: 
This report considers the role that science and technology can play in understanding and providing solutions to the long-term issues affecting the sea. It outlines a number of recommendations to help the UK utilise its current expertise and technological strengths to foster trade links, build marine capacity across the world and collaborate to tackle climate change.

From Captain Cook, to Turner and the Royal Navy, the sea is embedded in our culture and history, but what will it mean for the UK to be successful maritime nation in the 21st century, and beyond? That is the key question that this report seeks to answer.
We anticipate many new opportunities for the UK to benefit economically from the sea, and to show leadership on the global stage. We are well placed to succeed. Including the British Overseas Territories, the UK has one of the largest marine spaces of any country in the world – a rich and diverse area that offers new opportunities for exploration, protection and economic activity. Many of the UK’s relevant technological and scientific capabilities are world leading. However business as usual is not an option if the UK wants to fully capitalise on these opportunities, and be a successful marine and maritime nation in the future.
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128
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OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2017-2026

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, July 10, 2017
Abstract in English: 
Over the ten-year Outlook period, agricultural markets are projected to remain weak, with growth in China weakening and biofuel policies having less impact on markets than in the past. Future growth in crop production will be attained mostly by increasing yields, and growth in meat and dairy production from both higher animal stocks and improved yields. Agricultural trade is expected to grow more slowly, but remain less sensitive to weak economic conditions than other sectors. These demand, supply and trade pressures are all evident in Southeast Asia, where this report identifies scope to improve agricultural productivity sustainably. Real prices are expected to remain flat or decline for most commodities.
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142
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OECD‑FAO Agricultural Outlook 2016‑2025

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, July 18, 2016
Abstract in English: 
The Agricultural Outlook 2016-2025 is a collaborative effort of OECD and FAO. It brings together the commodity, policy and country expertise of both organisations and input from collaborating member countries to provide an assessment of medium-term prospects of national, regional and global agricultural commodity markets. The Outlook provides supply, demand, trade and price estimates of major agricultural commodities for 41 countries and 12 geographical regions. The special theme chapter of this year’s edition focusses on the prospects and challenges of the agricultural sector in Sub-Saharan Africa. Prices for the main crops, livestock and fish products all fell in 2015, signalling that an era of high prices is quite likely over for all sub-sectors. Meat prices fell from record highs in 2014, dairy product prices continued declines that started in 2013 and 2014, while crop prices fell further from their peaks in 2012.The main factors behind lower prices have been several years of robust supply growth, weakening demand growth due to the overall economic slowdown, lower oil prices and further accumulation of already abundant stocks.
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137
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A Global Resource for Plant and Fungal Knowledge Science Strategy 2015-2020

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, November 20, 2015
Abstract in English: 
Kew’s scientific vision is to document and understand global plant and fungal diversity and its uses, bringing authoritative expertise to bear on the critical challenges facing humanity today.
In this document we set out three strategic priorities to enable us to curate, use, enhance, explore and share Kew’s global resource, providing robust data and a strong evidence base for our UK and global stakeholders as follows:
1. To document and conduct research into global plant and fungal diversity and its uses for humanity.
2. To curate and provide data-rich evidence from Kew’s unrivalled collections as a global asset for scientific research.
3. To disseminate our scientific knowledge of plants and fungi, maximising its impact in science, education, conservation policy and management.
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60
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An Arctic Redesign: Recommendations to Rejuvenate the Arctic Council

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, March 14, 2016
Abstract in English: 
The Arctic Council was launched in 1996 as an informal, consensual, and cooperative mechanism without either legal personality or operational mandate. It was designed to enhance measures to collectively protect the Arctic’s environment and to explore sustainable development opportunities. The Arctic Council turns 20 years old in 2016, and it has grown larger and more complex - welcoming new observer states such as China and India, initiating two legally binding agreements on search and rescue and oil spill response, and creating a permanent Secretariat. As the increasingly dynamic Arctic environment undergoes vast physical and geopolitical transformations, is the 20-year old Arctic Council’s organizational structure adequate and fit for its purpose? Can the Council remain at the center of Arctic-related activities under its current mandate? Is a substantial rethink of the Council’s governance structure necessary to ensure its productivity and longevity for the next 20 years? This report considers these questions and outlines four possible scenarios and strategies for Arctic Council reform and repair, as well as the implications for the Arctic Council in the future.
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28
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State of the World's Plants

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Abstract in English: 
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew has released the first annual report on the State of the World’s Plants.
The report provides a baseline assessment of current knowledge on the diversity of plants on earth, the global threats plants face, the policies in place and their effectiveness in dealing with threats. The report has taken a year to produce and involved more than 80 scientists.
This is the first ever global assessment on the state of the world’s plants.
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84
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The murky future of global water quality: New global study projects rapid deterioration in water quality

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Abstract in English: 
While California’s four-year drought is forcing the most severe mandatory water restrictions in the state’s history, another water crisis is brewing that will affect far more people and a much greater territory – the planet at large.

According to a global study by the International Food Policy Research Institute and Veolia, the world is on a path toward rapidly deteriorating water quality in many countries. The first-of-its-kind study indicates that up to 1 in 3 people will be exposed to a high risk of water pollution in 2050 from increased amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous. Up to 1 in 5 people will be exposed to a high risk of water pollution reflected by increased levels of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD).

Even using the most optimistic socio-economic models, water quality is projected to rapidly deteriorate over the next several decades which, in turn, will increase risks to human health, economic development and thousands of aquatic ecosystems in developed and developing economies alike.
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12
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The future of electricity transmission : cost-benefit analysis of a biodiversity-friendly vegetation management in forest corridors

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Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, November 30, 2015
Abstract in English: 
Vegetation is a threat for electricity transmission when overhead high-tension lines are crossing forest areas. For this reason, Transmission System Operators (TSO) often proceed by regular vegetation destruction in order to prevent any electrical blackout that could be triggered by trees, by contact or by fall.

The innovative LIFE Elia-RTE project (funded partly by EU) decided to think about alternative methods that could ensure not only electrical safety, but also enhance biodiversity ! These methods should aim at protecting species and natural habitats encompassed by the European Natura 2000 legislation. Indeed, for a good ecological state, we need core areas and connection corridors. This is where high-tension lines have a strong potential to be converted as green corridor for biodiversity.

On a 30 years timescale, biodiversity-friendly vegetation management has been estimated to be 1.4 to 3.9 cheaper than traditional vegetation management ! And not only for its cost savings, it also brings many other benefits.

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24
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