Conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services
Our research is generating an understanding of how ecosystems can be managed for the provision of beneficial ecosystem services as well as how environmental change may affect the biodiversity on which they depend. Activities include modelling populations and extinction risks based on long-term life history data, examining ecosystem functioning under human-induced stress and determining how biodiversity supports the provision of ecosystem services in fragmented urban landscapes, to inform cost-effective, robust conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Examining the life histories of 5 generations of working elephants in Burma has enabled scientists to advise the Burmese government on how to improve the elephants' working conditions and maintain a more stable population. This has contributed to protecting this endangered species and increasing the productivity of the economy.
A series of studies investigating the impact of road run-off on aquatic ecosystems have guided new policies and practices to reduce the environmental impact of this major source of water pollution.
The Biodiversity in Urban Gardens project (BUGS), which began in Sheffield and has since expanded to five more UK cities, has highlighted the value of urban gardens for biodiversity. Results have fed into Biodiversity Action Plans for urban areas, other research projects and campaigns at the Royal Horticultural Society.
A study into the conservation of the Yellow-shouldered Amazon Parrot on the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire has led to the establishment of NGO Echo dedicated to their protection, as well as the development of parrot-focused eco-tourism on the island.
In collaboration with plant supplier Boningale Ltd, researchers have applied basic plant science to develop green roofs. These are tailor-made for a range of climatic conditions and functions, with maximum environmental benefits.
A new approach to species conservation, which could change how we protect the world's most endangered birds, has been developed by a team of the world's leading scientists, including the University of Sheffield.