OPERAs, alongside The University of Edinburgh, is involved in the launch of an exciting new initiative that aims to support better management of Scotland’s natural resources. ESCom Scotland aspires to establish a community of practice between stakeholders involved in the science, policy and practice behind sustainable ecosystem management.
The ESCom initiative was initiated as a research collaboration between four organisations seeking to align research, improve collaboration with policy and practice and increase impact (Centre for Hydrology and Ecology, Forest Research, The James Hutton Institute and The University of Edinburgh).
ESCom Scotland is hosting a formal launch event and conference at the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation from 30 April – 1 May. The event is open to all and will focus on two thematic questions, ‘What can you do for ESCom?’ and ‘What can ESCom do for you?’ The event will include speeches from Paul Wheelhouse MSP and Struan Stevenson MEP in addition to many other notable policy-makers, practitioners and scientists.
The ESCom Scotland initiative was established in recognition of the increased work being performed in the field of ecosystem services throughout Scotland. The initiative itself is still in its infancy and will be defined by the stakeholder feedback received from the launch event.
What might the benefits of an ecosystem service community of practice be for Scotland? There are numerous examples of an ecosystem services valuation making clear the benefits and costs associated with the maintenance of a particular ecosystem. For example, Swedish studies analysed the costs of replacing the tree planting activities of the European Blue Jay with human planting, or the example of off-setting flooding by paying Alpine regions to protect against flooding for lower regions.
Through the initiative ESCom Scotland seeks to encourage the sharing of ideas, to initiate increased collaboration and to introduce a support network for the various stakeholders engaging with the ecosystem services concept.