Mainstreaming Biodiversity Workshop: Geo-engineering impacts on biodiversity

4 November 2014, 11.00 AM - 4 November 2014, 11.00 AM

Verdon Smith Room, Royal Fort House

New research areas in law, ethics, sociology, biology, chemistry and physics are opening up as society considers how to support a growing and increasingly consumptive human population in the face of mounting environmental stresses.  All too often, biodiversity conservation is seen as an additional burden at the end of a long list of economic and social needs, when ironically biodiversity is the foundation of all economies, societies and life. 

Following on from the  Cabot Institute’s co-hosting of Radio 4’s Shared Planet, the 'Mainstreaming Biodiversity’ events will explore placing biodiversity at the forefront of our decision making and what relevant research avenues we at the University of Bristol can pursue.

‘Mainstreaming Biodiversity’ will include three workshops (see below) as well as a supporting discussion group and a local biodiversity themed walk. Each ½ day workshop will include an introductory talk, 2-3 shorter research talks and round table discussions on current research and new opportunities.  The discussion group will broaden understanding of the workshop topics and further foster potential research collaborations.  While the general aim of this series is to strengthen research links, a specific aim will to be to develop a publication with vignettes from a broad array of disciplines about the necessity of mainstreaming biodiversity.

The workshops will be held in the autumn of 2014, leading up to the Bristol Green Capital events of 2015.  Places at the workshops will be limited to 20 so please get in touch with the relevant workshop coordinator, listed below, if you would like to attend.   The discussion group meets the second Tuesday of every month from 1-2 pm, see below.

Important information

These events are aimed at University of Bristol staff, PhDs and postdocs only.  Due to limited numbers, please contact the relevant workshop coordinator to express your interest in attending.

Workshops run from 11 am - 3 pm.


Defining biodiversity - 7 October, 2014

What is biodiversity? The broadness of this topic, and the difficulty in defining consistent metrics for use in advocacy or regulation makes biodiversity protection difficult. This workshop will explore the interdisciplinary challenges of defining and prioritising “biodiversity”, particularly in an ecosystem or functional context, by exploring scientific definitions of biodiversity and contextualising them within wider social, ethical and institutional environments.  

Coordinated by Jon Bridle and Margherita Pieraccini.



biodiversity on farmlandFood security and biodiversity – 21 October, 2014                                                      

With a projected population of 9 billion people by 2050, how can we ensure food security, while maintaining the biodiversity on which such food production depends? This challenge is already critical, and will be be exacerbated by anthropogenic climate change, altering both anthropogenic and natural ecosystems.  This workshop will explore how these issues are being addressed at Bristol and explore key issues such as our dependence on fossil fuels for agriculture, rising meat consumption, and the sustainable harvesting of natural populations  as well as managed agricultural systems.

Coordinated by T Davies-Barnard.



World in our handsGeo-engineering impacts on biodiversity - 4 November, 2014

With little evidence that society will reduce greenhouse gas emissions soon, ‘geo-engineering’ strategies for managing climate change are receiving increasing attention.  The impacts of such mitigation strategies on the biosphere must be a fundamental consideration in any implementation.  This workshop will highlight the array of geo-engineering research at Bristol and explore the key biodiversity-related questions we are well placed to answer.   The discussion will be based around 2 geo-engineering issues:  1. The physical impacts of such measures on biodiversity and 2. Identifying and mapping the various ethical issues of geo-engineering research for local and global communities. 

Coordinated by Erica Hendy and Pru Foster.


Discussion Group

The reading and discussion group will be held on the second Tuesday of every month from 1-2 pm in room G7 of the Wills Memorial Building.  Contact: Pru Foster.

Field Trip

We will go for a local walk or two to explore and discuss some of Bristol’s biodiversity including the endemic Bristol onion and the multiple species of Sorbus trees that are found only in the Avon Gorge.  Contact: Pru Foster.

Download the flyer (PDF, 189kB) [PDF, 190 KB]

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