I made a podcast! Or rather co-hosted it, and wasn’t responsible for the heavy job of planning or editing it. I just asked questions. And could have gone on asking questions for hours. It was fascinating to hear the new-ish Director of the St Andrews Botanic Gardens, Dr Harry Watkins, talk about his work in urban forestry and landscape architecture, biosecurity and now in transforming what was a “museum” of plants into a maze of resilient and adaptable habitats. After many years of not questioning the benefits vs. increasing costs of the status quo, and its relevance to contemporary society and its challenges, the Botanic Gardens now are. And their response has been controversial amongst their supporters. They are building a sand dune in the middle of the Gardens… It’s all part of the Tangled Bank project, a response to the challenges and changes resulting from ongoing climate change. Any opposition to the project just need to listen to Harry explain the reasons behind it to be convinced of its importance. Why didn’t this change come sooner even?! And will other Botanic Gardens follow suit?
Here’s Harry’s manifesto for change, expertly edited by Dr James Crooks of the Centre for Energy Ethics: https://www.podbean.com/ew/pb-3ze76-10ea48d. Many thanks to James and the Centre for Energy Ethics team for inviting me to co-host, and generally for all of their support and enthusiasm for my contribution.
For anyone who wants a relatively concise introduction to the Peat Spotter project I’ve been working on for the last year with Rezatec, funded by the European Space Agency, we’ve just published a promo video on YouTube. I’ll aim to write a bit more about it soon for those avid peat spotters out there. For now, prizes for those that spot my precious clubbed thumb in action.
An area in Central Kalimantan where we trialled some of the equipment and protocols that we’ll use to spot peat, in the ‘field’. Here we have a typical Southeast Asian scene of drained peat, with oil palms planted in the fore- and background, and a degrading fragment of forest off in the distance. Whether that patch of trees can actually be called a forest is another thing.
Yesterday I entered into the International Union of Forest Research Organisations’ (IUFRO) blog competition. In the build-up to their World Congress, starting on October 5th, IUFRO wanted people to post articles about their research and work involving “Sustaining Forests, Sustaining People – The Role of Research” – the theme of the congress. Though I only managed to touch the surface of this issue in my entry, I wanted to make sure the challenging nature of tropical peat swamp forest conservation got some air-time. If you’re interested, you can view it (and consider voting!) here.
‘Soon’ being approximately nine months, apparently! Now that the very summery sun we’ve been having in the UK is fading and blackberry season is nearly over, I plan on posting words here much more regularly.
Here’s a slightly outdated one for starters….
I’m building up to the first mind-dump.