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GRAND CHALLENGE: Effective and Meaningful Biodiversity Conservation Strategies Across Scales

Scratching the Surface

In the Spotlight: Bringing Biodiversity to Policy and Society  

Maj Rundlöf about Biodiversity under Global Change:

Policy Councils and more

One of the main aims of BECC is to bring state-of-the-art science into policy processes to support evidence-based decision-making regarding biodiversity and ecosystem services in a changing climate. As a member of the Swedish Climate Policy Council since 2022, our coordinator Professor Henrik Smith at CEC and the Department of Biology at LU, has the opportunity to bring in the BECC-relevant perspective of climate-ecosystem interactions into their evaluations. Commissioned by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), Henrik and colleagues also produced a synthesis on the findings from the recent IPCC and IPBES assessments on the double crisis of biodiversity and climate change, and contextualised it a Swedish perspective. Henrik Smith is also a member of the SEPA Council for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, supporting work related to IPBES assessments and other global initiatives.

Other significant memberships include being part of our cities’ Climate policy councils: Professor Thomas Sterner at the Department of Economy in Göteborg, and senior lecturer Johanna Alkan Olsson at CEC, Professor Cecilia Akselsson at INES and Dr Roger Hildingsson at the Department of Political Science in Lund. Dr Roger Hildingsson is also a partner in the recently established Swedish citizen council on climate related issues and Professor Thomas Sterner a consultant to SIDA’s Help-desk on Environmental and Climate Issues.

Botanical gardens

Professor Alexandre Antonelli has been active in BECC from the start and is today the Director of Science of the Royal Kew Gardens in London, while keeping his Professorship at UGOT. Apart from building the evolutionary biology group at UGOT, which focuses on global biodiversity loss, he was the founder of the Gothenburg Global Biodiversity Centre in 2017. He is an advocate for bringing science to both the broad public and to stakeholders.

Allison Perrigo, former Director of GGBC and researcher in BECC, is from 2023 the Director of the Lund Botanical Garden. In her new role, she will strive for a tighter connection between the university, the garden, and the public. The connection between BECC, GGBC and the Gothenburg Botanical Garden is also strong, with GGBC’s new director and BECC researcher Jenny Klingberg being employed at the Botanical Garden.

In the Spotlight: Using and Supporting Infrastructures for Monitoring Biodiversity Changes

Monitoring schemes: Birds, butterflies, and bumblebees 

For more than 50 years, volunteer ornithologists have been counting birds at more than a thousand sites around Sweden as a part of the Swedish Bird Survey. The last 15 years, the Swedish Butterfly Monitoring Scheme has been running in parallel. It is another volunteer-based scheme covering more than 600 sites annually. These two surveys are part of the environmental monitoring programmes of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and most county administrative boards. The main aim is to follow population development to detect changes over time. From the data, which is collected using the same standardised method every year, it is possible to track changes in population numbers and distributions and produce indicators for three of Sweden’s official environmental objectives. Data from the surveys is further combined with data from other European countries to create European bird and butterfly indicators used among others to evaluate policy instruments such as the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The monitoring data is also part of the Swedish Biodiversity Data Infrastructure (SBDI). The monitoring schemes are coordinated by BECC researchers Professor Åke Lindström and Dr Lars Pettersson at the Department of Biology, LU. BECC researchers have lately been involved in national and European pilots developing a framework for pollinator monitoring. These data are now used to establish standards in the pollinator monitoring scheme that is expected to become a requirement for EU member states shortly. 

Recently, BECC researchers met to highlight possibilities offered by other infrastructures connected to biodiversity data, including the Biological Museum and the Botanical Garden at LU.

Following climate and biodiversity at the Latnjajaure field station – a part of the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX)

Picture from the Latnajaure field station
Latnajaure field station

BECC has a long history of contributing to the monitoring programmes at Latnjajaure field station and is the backbone and only long-term funder for this. Most monitoring activities at Latnjajaure are related to the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX), a collaborative effort involving scientists from more than 11 countries, including all the Arctic nations. ITEX seeks to examine the response of circumpolar cold adapted plant species and tundra ecosystems to environmental change, specifically to an increase in summer temperature. Empirical knowledge based on experiments coupled with available evolutionary history, ecology, and genetics will help predict species responses to climate change. Latnjajaure is today one of the two remaining master-sites in the network, with warming treatments since 1993, and with a new established experiment on effects on increased precipitation and its combination with warming (started 2023). The original ITEX monitoring, including five different plant communities, has also been upgraded to include monitoring of herbivory (through the herbivory network), biodiversity (through the LifePLAN network), and carbon flux measurements (through the Tundra Flux database). The station also hosts a large variety of individual research projects and has fostered a number of Masters and PhDs over the years. The monitoring program at Latnjajaure field station is coordinated by BECC researcher senior lecturer Mats Björkman at the Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences and the Alpine and Polar Ecology group at UGOT. 

In the Spotlight: Observing the CBD Global Framework for Biodiversity Being Agreed Upon

In 2022 a new global framework for biodiversity was agreed upon at COP15 in Montreal after four years of negotiations, concluding four state targets and twenty-three action targets to be met by 2030. In addition, decisions on indicators on implementation and financial plans were included. The new Global Biodiversity Framework is seen as an important step towards addressing the nature crisis, not least the ambitious goal to restore, protect and conserve 30 percent of land and 30 percent of the water globally by 2030, and may have important implications also for policy processes at EU level and in Sweden. 

BECC researcher Dr Maria Blasí Romero at CEC, LU, joined the meeting as an observer representing BECC. Her take home messages were, apart from the urgency of finding solutions for implementation of targets to reach the goals, that it is crucial to work on the driving forces behind biodiversity loss such as loss of habitat, land-use change and climate change, but also on technology, economics, and governance, and that there is need of more data to support decisions. Moreover, she pinpointed the need for better incentives/reward systems for researchers to get involved in the important science-policy interface, and for more robust media coverage of biodiversity. Coincidentally, BECC has since 2022 a communications officer displaying BECC research to society.