Upland communities face ‘triple threat’
Farming has changed the shape of the Welsh landscapes for generations, but environmental scientists in Wales are joining together as part of the first online conference of its kind to focus entirely on the scientific evidence helping to make Welsh uplands more resilient in the future.
With a ‘triple jeopardy’ of climate change, Brexit and now COVID 19, the mountainous uplands covering more than 80% of Wales are facing a steep challenge to ensure they are well equipped to survive and thrive in the future. The unprecedented climatic and economic challenges that these landscapes are now facing have huge implications for the wellbeing of communities and ecosystems within them.
With more than 200 environment sector specialists joining forces, Environment Evidence 2020 will explore the theme of resilience and what these challenges mean for our uplands from range of environmental, social and economic perspectives. The online conference, 14th-18th September brings together stakeholders from across the academic, public, private and third sectors to discuss how the latest research can help shape the policies of the future.
With speakers attending from across the UK and Ireland, organisers Environment Platform Wales aim to challenge current thinking and open up new avenues for collaboration and innovation.
The Platform with members representing Welsh Government, Natural Resources Wales, all eight Welsh Universities and the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology enlisted the support of legendary Welsh actor Michael Sheen, to help harness the passion and romance of Welsh landscapes and celebrate their unique beauty.
In a video premiered online on 9th September, acting star Michael reads John Morris Jones’ emotive poem ‘My Land’, perhaps inspired by the rolling pastures of his North Wales home. Anglesey-born John Morris Jones has a strong connection to Bangor University and the university has halls of residence named after him. He was also a commissioner of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales.
Environment Platform Wales Director Jennifer Geroni said:
“We’re delighted that Michael Sheen has offered his support for Environment Platform Wales, helping us to highlight the importance of protecting and safeguarding these landscapes with strong and robust scientific evidence. The research taking place by members in our community is helping to find new and innovative ways to support efforts to make these upland areas more resilient in the future.
“Among the many conversations taking place next week, we’ll hear from scientists sharing how to increase biodiversity and how to promote lower greenhouse gas emissions. Making policy decisions benefitting current and future generations has to be supported by a sound evidence base and this conference, our uplands photography competition and ‘upland voices’ blog series have all helped to highlight the stories and experiences of those living and working in these precious communities. We look forward to seeing all our participants online next week!”
The Environment Evidence 2020 conference ‘Resilience in the Welsh uplands – an evidence perspective’ was made possible thanks to conference sponsors Hybu Cig Cymru, Natural Resources Wales, The Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) and heritage consultancy Trysor.
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