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Meeting the challenges of food security and climate change
The Climate Change Act (2008) commits the UK to 80% statutory greenhouse gases emissions reduction by 2050 across all sectors of the economy. Farming and land use are responsible for about 7.4% of total UK emissions. Delivering the expectation that we should gain the increases in food production required from a growing population, while reducing agricultural emissions and adapting to climate change presents a unique scientific challenge this meeting proposes to explore. The meeting will also strive to reconcile the need to increase food production with the inevitable pressure on GHG emissions, at the same time as achieving a balance through land management and displacing fossil fuels with bioenergy feedstocks while enhancing carbon capture and sequestration.
Biographies and audio recordings are available below.
Download the post-meeting report, produced by the organising group.
This meeting was supported by Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board; Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council; Biosciences Knowledge Transfer Network; Environmental Sustainability Knowledge Transfer Network; Living With Environmental Change; National Farmers Union; Natural Environment Research Council; Technology Strategy Board.
Professor Sir David Read FRSWelcome
David Read recently completed a five year appointment as Vice President and Biological Secretary of the Royal Society. He currently has joint appointments as Emeritus Professor of Plant and Microbial Sciences in the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences of the University of Sheffield and as Winthrop Visiting Research Professor in the University of Western Australia, Perth. David has had a career-long interest in the biology of the plant-fungal mutualisms of roots - mycorrhizas. His work involves analysis of root microbial interactions in natural, agricultural and forest ecosystems. He is listed in the Thompson- ISI ‘highly cited’ category. David was elected FRS in 1990 and has subsequently received the Kempe Prize for Ecology, the Distinguished Lecturership in Soil Science from the Soil Science Society of America and Honorary Memberships of the American and British Mycological Societies and the British Ecological Society. He was awarded a visiting Miller Research Professorship in the University of California at Berkeley in 2005 and was knighted in 2008 for ‘services to biological science’. David’s recent external activities include Membership of the Editorial Review Board of ‘Science’, Chairmanship of the Board of Rothamsted Research and of the Forestry Commission’s Advisory Board on Forest Research, Membership of the Board of the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute and Chairmanship of the UK government’s independent review on ‘Combating Climate Change-A Role for UK Forests’-the Read Report (TSO 2009).
Professor Sam EvansOrganiser
Professor Richard Bardgett Organiser
Richard Bardgett is Professor of Ecology at Lancaster University. His primary research interest is the study of plant-soil relationships in the context of ecosystem nutrient cycling and plant community dynamics. He has published many papers on this topic and two books: 'The Biology of Soil: A Community and Ecosystem Approach', which won the 2006 Marsh Ecology Book of the Year Award, and "Aboveground-Belowground Linkages' (2010). He is an Editor of the Journal of Ecology and serves on the Editorial Boards of Ecology Letters and Ecosystems, and is Chairman of the BBSRC's Committee B and a member of the Steering Committee of the Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment (GMBA), a cross-cutting network of DIVERSITAS. Richard is recognised as a Highly Cited Researcher in the area of Environment/Ecology and was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2006.
Professor Sir David Baulcombe FRSOrganiser
Professor Sir David Baulcombe is Regius Professor of Botany and a Royal Society Research Professor at University of Cambridge.
Professor Gareth Edwards-JonesOrganiser
Gareth graduated from Manchester University with a degree in Biology before completing a PhD at Imperial College, London in population and community ecology. He joined the Rural Resource Management Department at SAC (Edinburgh) in 1990 as a Senior bioeconomist. He became Head of the Rural Resource Management Department in SAC in 1995, and got the Chair of Agriculture and Land Use in the Bangor University in 1998. In 2010 he was appointed as the Waitrose Chair of Sustainable Agriculture in Aberystwyth University, a role he undertakes part time alongside his Bangor duties. His research interests span a range of issues concerned with food production and wise use of the environment including: carbon accounting, agricultural policy and the environment, the economics of nature conservation, the psychology of farming decision-making and agricultural development in Wales. He is currently a member of the scientific advisory committee of Natural England, the Sustainable Agriculture Panel of BBSRC and the Welsh Assembly’s Land use and Climate change group. He was previously a member of the UK Food Policy Council and the Advisory Committee on Pesticides. Gareth is married and has 2 young children. He spends his spare time fishing, mountain biking and playing soccer.
Professor Graham Farquhar FRSOrganiser
Graham Farquhar has been Professor of Environmental Biology at the Australian National University since 1988. His areas of expertise are in photosynthesis and water use of plants, hydrological cycle and global change science. He was Science adviser and Australian delegate to the Framework Convention on Climate Change, Conference of Parties, Kyoto 1997, mainly for his work on the greenhouse cost of land clearing. His research on plant photosynthesis and water use is now applied in ecophysiology and agronomy and in models of the global carbon and water cycles. He co-developed carbon isotope discrimination as a tool to increase crop water-use efficiency, which led to release of wheat varieties with greater yield in water-limited environments, and to identification of a gene controlling water-use efficiency. He helped identify the roles of ‘global dimming’ and ‘global stilling’ (windspeed decline) in reductions in evaporative demand around the world over recent decades. He is currently Vice-President (Sec B), Australian Academy of Science.
Professor Maggie Gill Organiser
Maggie is coming to the end (March 2011) of her contract as Chief Scientific Adviser for Rural Affairs and the Environment to the Scottish Government where she has been employed for 80 per cent of her time. She is employed by the Department for International Development of the UK Government for 20 per cent, seconded from the University of Aberdeen where she holds a chair in integrated land use. Her original degree was in Agricultural science from Edinburgh University, followed by a PhD from Massey University in New Zealand. Her research career was in livestock nutrition and livestock and the environment. Maggie worked for the Agricultural Research Council for 13 years followed by 6 years for the Overseas Development Administration in the Natural Resources Institute. She has worked on livestock research in UK, Australasia, North America, India, Bolivia and Kenya. In 1996 NRI was privatised and she ran a company spun out of that privatisation for 4 years. Maggie returned to Scotland in 2000 to head up the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute before being recruited to her current post with the Scottish Government in 2006.
Dr Murray LarkOrganiser
Murray Lark worked first at Silsoe Research Institute and then at Rothamsted Research where he was deputy head of the Department of Biomathematics and Bioinformatics and led the Environmetrics Research Group which develops statistical methods for the analysis of environmental properties which show complex variation in space and time. Most of his work has been concerned with processes in the soil, with understanding nutrient cycles and mapping and monitoring soil quality. He now works at the British Geological Survey and is visiting Professor in the Department of Applied Sciences at Cranfield University.
Dr Sinclair Mayne, Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture and Rural DevelopmentLivestock agriculture - balancing food security and greenhouse gas emissions
Sinclair graduated from Queen’s University Belfast, with a BAgr in 1980 and a PhD in 1983. He has worked in research and development for over 24 years, initially at the Grassland Research Institute in England, and then the Agricultural Research Institute of Northern Ireland, Hillsborough, which became part of the Agri Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) in 2006. His research interests include grass production and utilisation, improving the efficiency of livestock production systems and reducing the environmental impact of livestock production systems. Following the creation of AFBI in 2006, he became Head of Agriculture Branch and in February 2009 he was appointed Departmental Scientific Adviser with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Sinclair was awarded Fellowship of the Royal Agricultural Societies in 2004 and is the immediate Past President of the British Society of Animal Science.
Professor Pete Smith, University of AberdeenPotential for agricultural greenhouse gas mitigation globally and in the UK
Pete Smith is the Royal Society-Wolfson Professor of Soils and Global Change at the Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, School of Biological Sciences at the University of Aberdeen. Since 1996, he has served as Convening Lead Author, Lead Author and Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, as the Convening Lead Author of the Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Mitigation chapter of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report and for the Agriculture and Forestry chapter of the Fifth Assessment Report (Working Group III). He has coordinated and participated in many national and international projects on soils, agriculture, greenhouse gases, climate change, mitigation and impacts, and ecosystem modelling. He is a Fellow of the Society of Biology, a Rothamsted Research Fellow, a Research Fellow of the Royal Society (London), and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Professor Jeremy Woods, Imperial College LondonTradeoffs and opportunities for bioenergy and land use at local to global scales
Jeremy Woods is a Lecturer in bioenergy at Imperial College London working on the interplay between development, land-use and the sustainable use of natural resources. Recently he became co-director of the Porter Institute, dedicated to the development of advanced biorenewables. In 2008, he was a member of the Royal Society’s Working Group on Biofuels and was on the advisory board of the UK Gallagher Review of the indirect land use change impacts of biofuels. He has carried out assessments of advanced bioenergy systems for a number of UK, national and international bodies, including on carbon /greenhouse gas assurance and certification accreditation and in developing the framework for an international bioenergy programme in collaboration with the UN-FAO and the Global Environment Fund (GEF). He chairs the UK working group of the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment, is Chair of a voluntary community-based carbon offsetting charity, Plan Vivo and a trustee of the Environmental Law Foundation. His research focuses on accessing the development opportunities that arise from advanced bioenergy and biorenewables including African development and food security linkages with bioenergy production. He lectures on sustainable energy futures and environmental technologies in Imperial College London.
Professor Sir John Beddington CMG FRSDay One Introduction
Sir John Beddington was appointed as Government Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA) on 1 January 2008. Throughout 2008 and 2009 Sir John raised the concept of the “Perfect Storm” of food, energy and water security in the context of climate change, gaining considerable media attention and raising this as a priority in the UK and internationally. Prior to his appointment as GCSA, he was Professor of Applied Population Biology and headed the main departments of environmental science and technology at Imperial College. His main research interests are the application of biological and economic analysis to problems of Natural Resource Management. He was, for six years, a member of the Natural Environment Research Council. In June 1997 he was awarded the Heidelberg Award for Environmental Excellence, in 2001 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society. In 2004 he was awarded the Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George by Her Majesty the Queen and in June 2010 was awarded a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Professor Sir Gordon Conway KCMG FRSFood security and agricultural development: the challenges ahead
Gordon Conway is Professor of International Development at Imperial College, London where he is currently working on an advocacy grant from the Bill&Melinda Gates Foundation for support of agricultural development in Africa. From 2005-2009 he was Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department for International Development. Previously he was President of The Rockefeller Foundation and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex. He was educated at the Universities of Wales (Bangor), Cambridge, West Indies (Trinidad) and California (Davis). His discipline is agricultural ecology. In the early 1960's, working in Sabah, North Borneo, he became one of the pioneers of sustainable agriculture. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2004 and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2007. He was made a Knight Commander of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George in 2005. He is a Deputy Lieutenant for East Sussex. He was recently President of the Royal Geographical Society. He has authored The Doubly Green Revolution: Food for all in the 21st century (Penguin and University Press, Cornell).
Professor David Powlson, Rothamsted ResearchGreenhouse gas emissions associated with nitrogen fertiliser - lessons from a situation of nitrogen excess in China
David Powlson has a B.Sc. in chemical sciences from UEA and a Ph.D. in soil science from the University of Reading. He has conducted research on aspects of carbon and nitrogen cycling in agricultural systems, and interactions with the wider environment over some 40 years and spent 2 years in Malaysia working on the management of acid sulphate soils. He was formerly Head of the Soil Science Department at Rothamsted Research. After retiring in 2006 he was appointed to the Emeritus position of Lawes Trust Senior Fellow at Rothamsted Research. He now works extensively on projects in China concerned with the rational use of nitrogen (N) fertiliser within a range of cropping systems. A current project concerns the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions achievable in China if the current over-use of N fertiliser was corrected. He is an author of some 120 refereed papers and numerous other articles including contributions to IPCC reports. He is a Visiting Professor in soil science in the School of Human and Environmental Sciences, University of Reading, a Past President of the British Society of Soil Science and elected an Honorary Member of the Society.
Professor Steve Long, University of IllinoisMore food, more bioenergy and fewer greenhouse gas emissions - is it possible?
Steve Long is Gugtsell University Endowed Professor of Crop Sciences and of Plant Biology at the University of llinois and adjunct Professor of Biology at Essex University, UK. He has pioneered experiments which directly assess the direct effects of atmospheric and climate change on food crop production at field scale. This has led to identification of adaptation and yield improvement strategies. In parallel he has identified some of the most productive plants that can be found in nature and researched the features that underlie their exceptional productivity. Recently this has gained support in identifying high-yielding low input C4 bioenergy crops. He is Founding and Chief Editor of Global Change Biology. He is listed as a Highly Cited author in Plant and Animal Biology and as one of the 20 most cited on climate change (ISI). In 2007 he was invited to brief the President at the White House on bioenergy and the Vatican in 2008. He is an elected Fellow of the AAAS and of the ASPB.
Dr Eric Davidson, Woods Hole Research CentreManure happens: the realities of feeding billions of human carnivores while trying to stabilise atmospheric greenhouse gases
Eric Davidson is a Senior Scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts. His research focuses on effects of land management on soil fertility and ecosystem health. He studies the exchange of plant nutrients from the land to streams and to groundwater and the exchange of greenhouse gases between the soil and the atmosphere. In Brazil, he works in forests, cattle pastures, and agricultural fields in the Amazonian and Cerrado regions. In New England, Davidson studies forests regrowing since agricultural abandonment about a century ago. Davidson holds a Ph.D. in forestry from North Carolina State University and held post-doctoral positions in soil microbiology and biogeochemistry at the University of California and at NASA Ames Research Center before moving to Woods Hole in 1991. He is the President-Elect of the Biogeosciences section of the American Geophysical Union, the Coordinator of the North American Regional Center for the International Nitrogen Initiative, the NASA Project Scientist for the Large-Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia, and a senior editor of Global Change Biology. Davidson has written a popular book, You Can’t Eat GNP, which explores the links between economics and ecology for students and laypersons.
Dr Jean-François SousannaTrade-offs and opportunities for carbon negative grazing systems
Dr J-F Soussana is Scientific Director for Environment at INRA (French National Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment). His research interests cover the interactions between biodiversity and global change and their impacts for the carbon and nitrogen cycles and for greenhouse gas emissions. He has developed both experimental and mathematical modelling approaches to the impacts of climate change on grassland ecosystems and to the role of biodiversity for ecosystem functioning in grasslands. Dr Soussana is a lead Author of the Working Group II of IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) since 1998. He has published close to 100 refereed research papers in international journals, as well as dozens of book chapters. He has coordinated the French foresight on adaptation to climate change of agriculture and ecosystems. He leads the scientific advisory board of the European Joint Programming Initiative on ‘Agriculture, Climate change and Food security’ (23 European countries) and coordinates the EC FP7 ‘AnimalChange’ (Climate change impacts, adaptation & mitigation for livestock) project. He also heads the French national research agency (ANR) scientific committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.
Dr Henry Janzen, Agriculture and Agri-FoodThe growing land dilemma: treading more gently, but producing more
Henry Janzen is a research scientist in soil biochemistry with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at Lethbridge, Alberta. He has studied the flows of carbon and nitrogen in agricultural ecosystems, especially their links to global cycles and long-term changes in the biosphere. An important focus has been finding ways of storing more carbon and reducing greenhouse gas emissions as a way of mitigating climate change. More recently, he has begun pondering the many other functions of these ecosystems in light of coming changes.
Professor Keith Goulding, Rothamsted Research Emissions and mitigation options of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture (with Dr Dave Chadwick and Dr Tom Misselbrook)
Keith joined Rothamsted in 1974 after completing a Masters in soil chemistry at Reading University and gained his PhD in soil chemistry at Imperial College in 1980. He studies how the plant foods (nutrients) in soils become available to growing plants and the best ways of augmenting these with fertilisers and manures without polluting air and water; he has engaged in various aspects of the ‘Organic versus Conventional’ farming debate. He is a visiting Professor at the University of Nottingham, a Fellow of the Institute of Professional Soil Scientists and a Chartered Scientist. He was awarded the Royal Agricultural Society of England’s (RASE) Research Medal in 2003 for his research into diffuse pollution from agriculture and elected an Honorary Fellow of the RASE in 2010. He received a Nobel Peace Prize certificate for his contribution to the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for which the Panel and Al Gore were jointly awarded the Prize in 2007. He is currently President of the British Society of Soil Science.
Dr Dave Chadwick, Rothamsted ResearchEmissions and mitigation options of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture (with Professor Keith Goulding, and Dr Tom Misselbrook)
Dr Dave Chadwick has worked at Rothamsted Research, North Wyke (previously IGER) since 1994. His expertise is in improving the utilisation of animal manures on agricultural land and reducing their impact on air and water quality. This includes; quantifying and mitigating ammonia and greenhouse gas emissions, reducing the risk of transfers of pollutants to watercourses, and understanding the impacts that management practices to reduce one pollutant have on other potential losses. Dave leads the new Defra funded project, Improvements to the national agricultural inventory - Nitrous oxide, which is key in developing a greenhouse gas reporting tool that will better reflect UK farming systems, soils, climate and management practices. He is also a UK representative of the Non-Ruminant working group of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases.
Dr Tom Misselbrook, Rothamsted ResearchEmissions and mitigation options of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture (with Professor Keith Goulding, Dr Dave Chadwick)
Tom Misselbrook did his degree in Agriculture at Reading University and has a PhD in ammonia emissions from Plymouth University. He is internationally recognized for his research on ammonia emissions from agricultural sources, developing inventory methodology and mitigation strategies and, more recently, has expanded his research remit to include greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. He jointly coordinates the FAO Network on Recycling of Agricultural, Municipal and Industrial Residues to Agriculture (RAMIRAN). He currently co-leads the Soils, Water and Air Team at Rothamsted Research, North Wyke.
Lord Krebs of Wytham Kt FRS, Jesus College, University of OxfordDay Two Introduction
Lord Krebs is the Principal of Jesus College, Oxford and former Chairman of the Food Standards Agency. An internationally renowned scientist, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society. He was knighted for services to behavioural ecology in 1999 and appointed to the House of Lords as an independent crossbencher in 2007. He is a Trustee of the Nuffield Foundation, Chairman of the UK Science and Technology Honours Committee, the House of Lords Select Committee for Science and Technology and the Royal Society's Science Policy Advisory Group. He sits on the UK Climate Change Committee and chairs its Adaptation Sub-Committee.
Professor E-Detlef Schulze, Max-Planck Institute for BiogeochemistryThe role of agriculture and land management in the GHG balance of Europe
ED Schulze is presently emeritus Professor at the Max-Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany. Schulze has co-ordinated the EU-integrated project CarboEurope, which integrated atmosphere and land-based estimates of greenhousegases across Europe. Before his engagement with the Max-Planck Society he was professor of Plant Ecology at the University of Bayreuth. His main research interest is with forestry. Schulze received the Deutsche Umweltpreis, the highest award in Germany in environmental sciences. Among other awards he holds the Federal German Award (Bundesverdienstkreuz erster Klasse), and Vernadzky medal of the EGU. He was lead author at WG I and II of IPCC and he was acknowledged as contributor to the Nobel Prize of IPCC.
Professor Ian Crute, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board Land-use and balancing greenhouse gas emissions from food production (with Dr Angela Karp)
Professor Ian Crute joined Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) in September 2009 as the organisation’s first Chief Scientist having spent 10 years as Director of Rothamsted Research. He obtained a First Class Honours degree in botany and a PhD in plant pathology from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and between 1973 and 1998 he was employed at HRI Wellesbourne and East Malling including 10 years in a number of different senior research management positions. He is currently Chairman of the Sainsbury Laboratory Council, a member of the Lead Expert Group on the “Future of Food and Farming” Foresight project and a Trustee Director of East Malling. Ian's scientific contributions are recorded in over 160 publications; he was awarded the Research Medal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England in 1992, the British Crop Production Council Medal in 2006 and received a CBE in the Queen’s 2010 New Year’s Honours for services to plant science. He has recently been appointed a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society of England and received an Honorary DSc. from Harper Adams University College.
Dr Angela Karp, Rothamsted ResearchLand-use and balancing greenhouse gas emissions from food production (with Professor Ian Crute)
Angela Karp is Scientific Director of the Rothamsted Centre for Bioenergy and Climate Change. Her research focuses on optimising perennial biomass crops (especially willows) for bioenergy and biofuels. Amongst many projects, Dr Karp is responsible for the UK willow breeding programme and also coordinated a RELU-Biomass project on the social, environmental and economic implications of increasing land use under energy crops. She now leads the BSBEC-BioMASS Programme - one of six research hubs comprising the BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre. In 2007 she received the RASE Research Medal and, in 2008, the Alfred-Toepfer prize for research achievements in willow.
Professor Dominic Moran, Scottish Agricultural CollegeDeveloping efficient emissions budgets from UK agriculture using abatement cost curves
Dominic Moran is Professor of Environmental Economics and Science Leader in Sustainable Rural Systems in the Research Division, SAC, Kings Buildings, Edinburgh. Dominic holds a PhD in economics from University College London and an MA in agricultural economics from Manchester University. He specialises in interdisciplinary analysis of environmental problems. He has specific interest in measurement of public preferences for environmental change and their use in policy making. Other research interests include: environmental valuation methods for cost-benefit analysis for public policy, the economics of mitigation and adaptation in agriculture. Dominic has led recent projects for both Defra and the Committee on Climate Change to scope the economics of mitigation measures in UK agriculture.
Professor Philip Lowe, UK Research Councils' Rural Economy and Landuse (Relu) programmeUK agriculture and climate change: socio-legal perspectives
Philip Lowe is Director of the Rural Economy and Land Use (Relu) Programme of the UK Research Councils. In 1992, he founded the Centre for Rural Economy at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, where he holds the Duke of Northumberland Chair of Rural Economy. He has played an active role in rural policy development at the national and European levels and in the North of England. For his contribution to the rural economy he was appointed OBE in 2003. Between 2007-9 he was Chair of Defra’s Vets and Veterinary Services Working Group.
Reporting back from breakout sessionProfessor Jeremy Woods, Dr Sinclair Mayne, Dr Murray Lark and Professor Richard Bardgett
Professor Chris Pollock CBE, Aberystwyth UniversitySquaring the circle? Can we reconcile agricultural greenhouse gas reductions with productive and sustainable landuse?
Chris Pollock is a plant physiologist and was Director of the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research in Aberystwyth from 1993-2007. More recently, Chris has been involved nationally in agriculture and land use. He chaired the Scientific Steering Committee for the farm-scale evaluations of GM crops, the Defra Research Priorities Group for Sustainable Farming and Food and the Agriculture, Food and Veterinary Science panel for the 2008 RAE He has recently completed a one-year post as Chief Scientific Advisor to the First Minister in Wales. He is currently an Honorary Professor at Aberystwyth University, chair of the Advisory Committee on Releases into the Environment (ACRE), and a member of BBSRC Council. Chris is a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies and of the Society of Biology, a past winner of the British
Panel discussion 25 May
Public lecture 29 May
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