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BiodivERsA Policy Briefs
Policy briefs to reach out to the policy makers
BiodivERsA partners are pleased to highlight the publication of BiodivERsA policy briefs. The work, coordinated on behalf of BiodivERsA by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, has procured IUCN Europe – Brussels, to act as interpreters/intermediaries in the dissemination of key BiodivERsA-funded research results to policy-makers, linking the new knowledge to major European policies.
A “win-win” between biodiversity-conservation and climate-change-combat is illustrated by the "Nitrogen pollution and climate change reduce carbon storage and biodiversity of peatlands" policy brief. It focuses on the farless recognized and 'unseen' threats to peatlands: air pollution, and changes in precipitation, temperature and nutrients. It is based on the research results of the PEATBOG project (see project page here) which investigated the impacts of nitrogen pollution and climate change on the biodiversity and ecosystem functioning of peatlands across Europe. The results suggest that elevated reactive nitrogen deposition can change the functioning and biodiversity of peatlands, and increase their sensitivity to climate change. Furthermore, warming and drought of nitrogen-enriched peatlands seem to threaten their longterm carbon storage capacity and release stored carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. This new knowledge highlights policy measures and actions that can help better migitate climate change (cf. the recent WMO report) and conserve peatlands and their biodiversity in Europe.
The policy brief “Adaptation of trees and forests to climate change: the importance of genetic variability” derived from the LinkTree project (see project page here) examined the genetic variation within forest tree populations in five European countries, and assessed how this variability and its management could help forests adapt to environmental changes. Although LinkTree did not directly address current policies, the new knowledge highlights the key role of genetic diversity of trees in determining forest resilience. Results indicate that wise use of genetic diversity can improve forest management practices and implementation of relevant policies, for example such as the EU Forest Strategy,the EU and National Climate Change Adaptation strategies, and the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy.
The “Conservation of small mammals and associated ecosystems” policy brief is focusing on the importance of European policies (for example, the Common Agricultural Policy, the EU Strategy on Climate Adaptation) and actions in the context of the conservation of small mammals and other species which depend on them in the ecosystems. It derives from the ECOCYCLES project (see project page here) lead by Dr. Xavier Lambin, that recorded changes in population abundance (cyclic population fluctuations) of some rodents which are important food for predators across Europe with direct impacts on the ecosystems they live in. Research results suggest that a common global environmental driver could be responsible for simultaneous flattening of such “population cycles” in different parts of Europe. . Recommended measures could contribute to improving the situation and reach the targets of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 and further research is also advised.
The “Natura 2000 and Europe’s forests” policy brief derives from the BeFoFu project (see project page here) lead by Dr. Georg Winkel, that investigated both ecological challenges related to the management of protected forests and governance challenges related to the implementation of Natura 2000. This policy brief describes these socio-ecological challenges, presents key research results, and outlines policy solution pathways towards improving the effectiveness of Natura 2000 with regards to the conservation and sustainable management of Europe’s forest.
The "Conservation of threatened insects in Europe" policy brief is focusing on the conservation of threathened and vulnerable insects in the context of changing land use and climate. This brief builds on the BiodivERsA-funded CLIMIT project (see project page here), lead by Dr. Josef Settele. The brief gives some specific recommendations to contribute significantly to reaching the targets of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, and to fulfill the obligations in the EU Habitats directive. Appropriate adaptive management measures, in particular those integrating ecological knowledge and promoting habitat patches and heterogeneity plus connectivity in the landscape, are highlighted as beneficial to insect conservation.
The "Wildlife diseases on the increase" policy brief focuses on Wildlife diseases, highlighting their increase and the threat they pose to Europe’s biodiversity, and proposing policy recommendations using the Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) fungus as an example. The 4-page brief is building on the BiodivERsA-funded RACE project (see project page here), lead by Dr. Matthew Fisher, whom has carried out research on the Bd fungus and has quantified its threat in Europe while improving knowledge on the key causes of its spread. One of the final outcomes of the project is a European Threat Abatement Plan soon to be released. The alarming data revealed by the project show the need to address the problems posed by the increasing spread and impact of wildlife diseased in Europe by developing and adopting adequate policy action for which the brief proposes precise recommendations. As warned in the briefing, a new fungal disease was recently discovered on fire salamanders in the Netherlands, indicating the immediate relevance of the recommendations.
These policy briefs are part of a series of briefings produced by BiodivERsA aiming to inform policy makers on key results of selected BiodivERsA funded projects, and to provide them with specific recommendations. They also illustrate the high pertinence of BiodivERsA’s work, and of the research it funds across Europe.