Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences - Reports

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    Definition and classification of Ireland's seascapes
    (Marine Institute, 2020-12) Minogue, Ruth; Foley, Karen; Collins, Tracy; Hennessy, Ronan; Doherty, Pat; Vaughan, Eilis; Black, Deirdre; European Maritime and Fisheries Fund; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; Marine Institute
    This is the final report of the Regional Seascape Character Assessment prepared for the Marine Institute. This report presents the Regional Seascape Character Areas along the entire Republic of Ireland coast. Seascape character assessment represents a core component of the evidence base for Marine Spatial Planning and marine policy formulation. Seascape character assessment (SCAss) has emerged as a method for assessing, characterising, mapping and describing seascape character. The process of SCAss follows the well-established, andwidely used,process of Landscape Character Assessment. Seascape is defined as “an area of sea, coastline and land, as perceived by people, whose character results from the actions and interactions of land with sea, by natural and/or human factors”. The aim of this project is to identify, classify and describe seascape character at a regional scale. The three objectives of the research are as follows: • Understand different regional seascape character areas along the coast; • Develop character assessment which describes the key features and character of each seascape character area, and • Spatially define and represent their distribution and qualitatively assess the socio -cultural value of each of the seascapes across their distribution. It is important to recognise that seascape character is a dynamic and changing space. In addition, a seascape is perceived by people, it therefore follows that there are many interpretations and understandings as to what contributes to and creates seascape character. Moreover, seascape character can be described at different scales and there are many local variations and nuances of seascape character. The scale of this assessment as required under the project brief is regional and therefore the seascape character is described at this scale. This project has used a clear, robust methodological approach that provides for a baseline assessment of seascape character. This methodology is summarised in Chapter Two and is based on a best practice review undertaken at the start of this project. Whilst the key aim of this research has been to fill an identified gap in baseline descriptions of seascape character, it also contributes achieving commitments under the European Landscape Convention 1.2(ELC) and Ireland’s National Landscape Strategy (NLS)2015-2025.
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    Implementation of an assessment and monitoring programme for Irish and British forests. BIOPLAN Final Report
    (COFORD, 2014-01) Irwin, Sandra; Kelly, Daniel; Mitchell, Fraser; Wilso, Mark; Dietzsch, Anke; Coote, Linda; Graham, Conor; Barsoum, Nadia; Newman, Miles; Fuller, Lauren; Deady, Rob; Sharkey, Nova; Bourke, David; Jones, Mike; Scarrott, Rory; Kopke, Kathrin; Roig Cervera, David; Kelly, Tom; O'Halloran, John; Teagasc; National Council for Forest Research and Development; Programme of Competitive Forestry Research for Development; European Regional Development Fund; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland
    The four year BIOPLAN project ‘Implementation of an assessment and monitoring programme for biodiversity in Irish and British forests’ had the principal objective to identify ways in which forest policy and management can safeguard the future of forest biodiversity and associated ecosystem services, and inform environmentally sustainable expansion of Ireland’s forests. From the research findings, 30 specific recommendations are made for policy and practice in the Irish forestry sector to mitigate the effects of forest management on biodiversity. These recommendations are underpinned by sound scientific research to ensure that their implementation will help to deliver on Ireland’s commitment to sustainable forest management.
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    Monitoring changes in submarine canyon coral habitats - Leg 1 (MoCha_SCan)
    (University College Cork, 2019-05) Lim, Aaron; O'Reilly, Luke; Summers, Gerard; Harris, Kim; Shine, Andrew; Harman, Luke; Appah, John; de Oliveira, Larissa Macêdo Cruz; Boyd, John; Anders, Bebhinn; Killeen, Orla; Conti, Luis; O'Brien, Martina; Marine Institute; Science Foundation Ireland
    This survey focused on the maiden deployment of a number of novel, ROV-adapted lander systems in the Porcupine Bank Canyon (PBC) coral habitats, NE Atlantic. Cold water corals (CWCs) flourish on the Irish-Atlantic margin between 600 and 100 m water depth, where they form a number of structural habitat types (coral reefs, mounds and gardens). Recent research shows that deep water habitats, including CWC habitats on the Irish margin, may be impacted by recent environmental change. The main objectives of this survey are: a) to deploy 8 new lander systems within a range of coral habitats throughout the PBC; b) to complete mapping coverage within the PBC; c) to sample the coral, sediment and ambient watermass around the lander sites and; d) to sample particulate organic matter around key coral habitats. Data recorded via landers from each habitat will allow to determine the controls on habitat variability. Furthermore, this data can be used as a baseline to which later deployments at this site will be used to compare against. Completed canyon coverage will feed into a number of multiscale mapping projects including the H2020 project â Integrated Assessment of Atlantic Marine Ecosystems in Space & Timeâ (iATLANTIC) and the SFI-, GSI- and MI-funded â Mapping, Modelling and Monitoring Key Processes and Controls on Cold Water Coral Habitats in Submarine Canyonsâ (MMMonKey_Pro) programme. Video data will be used to characterise key coral habitat within the canyon and subsequesntly, HD DEMâ s will be generated as a central dataset for the multiscale projects listed above.
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    Contributions of biodiversity to the sustainable intensification of food production: thematic study for The State of the World's Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture
    (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2019) Dawson, Ian K.; Attwood, Simon J.; Park, Sarah E.; Jamnadass, Ramni; Powell, Wayne; Sunderland, Terry; Kindt, Roeland; McMullin, Stepha; Hoebe, Peter N.; Baddeley, John; Staver, Charles; Vadez, Vincent; Carsan, Sammy; Roshetko, James M.; Amri, Ahmed; Karamura, Eldad; Karamura, Deborah; van Breugel, Paulo; Hossain, Md. Emdad; Phillips, Michael; Kumar, Ashok; Lillesø, Jens-Peter B.; Benzie, John A. H.; Sabastian, Gerhard E.; Ekesa, Beatrice; Ocimati, Walter; Graudal, Lars; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)
    Biodiversity supports sustainable food production, although recognition of its roles has been relatively neglected in the sustainable intensification literature. In the current study, the roles of biodiversity in sustainable food production are considered, assessing how these roles can be measured, the current state of knowledge and opportunities for intervention. The trajectory of global food production, and the challenges and opportunities this presents for the roles of biodiversity in production, are also considered, as well as how biodiversitybased interventions fit within wider considerations for sustainable food systems. The positive interactions between a diverse array of organisms, including annual crops, animal pollinators, trees, micro-organisms, livestock and aquatic animals, support food production globally. To support these interactions, a range of interventions related to access to materials and practices are required. For annual crops, major interventions include breeding crops for more positive crop–crop interactions, and the integration of a wider range of crops into production systems. For animal pollinators, major interventions include the introduction of pollinator populations into production landscapes and the protection and improvement of pollinator habitat. For trees, a major required intervention is the greater integration of perennial legumes into farmland. For micro-organisms, the implementation of agronomic practices that support beneficial crop-microbe interactions is crucial. For livestock production, breed and crop feedstock diversification are essential, and the implementation of improved methods for manure incorporation into cropland. Finally, in the case of aquatic production, it is essential to support the wider adoption of multi-trophic production systems and to diversify crop- and animal-based feed resources. These and other interventions, and the research needs around them, are discussed. Looking to the future, understanding the drivers behind trends in food systems is essential for determining the options for biodiversity in supporting sustainable food production. The increased dominance of a narrow selection of foods globally indicates that efforts to more sustainably produce these foods are crucial. From a biodiversity perspective, this means placing a strong emphasis on breeding for resource use efficiency and adaptation to climate change. It also means challenging the dominance of these foods through focusing on productivity improvements for other crop, livestock and aquaculture species, so that they can compete successfully and find space within production systems. New biodiversity-based models that support food production need not only to be productive but to be profitable. Thus, as well as describing appropriate production system management practices that enhance production and support the environment, the labour, knowledge, time required to operationalize, and other costs of new production approaches, must be considered and minimized. To support the future roles of biodiversity in sustainable food production, we recommend that particular attention be given to the longitudinal analysis of food sectors to determine how the diversity of foods consumed from these sectors has changed over time. Analysis is already available for crops, but related research is needed for livestock and aquaculture sectors. This analysis will then support more optimal cross-sectoral interactions, in terms of the contributions each sector provides to supplying the different components of human diets. Additional meta-analyses and synthetic reviews of case studies are required as an evidence base for biodiversity-based food production system interventions, but future studies should pay more attention to articulating the potential biases in case study compilation (the problem of ‘cherry picking’ positive examples) and the measures that have been taken to minimize such effects.