A 25 year plan for England’s natural capital biodiversity assets: a scientific approach to operationalizing the Lawton vision

4 & 5 September 2017, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford

The Lawton report (Making Space for Nature), provided a vision for the status of England’s species and habitats in 2050. The high-level vision for ‘bigger, better, joined’ conservation areas providing a resilient ecological network has been influential in shaping biodiversity policy and the activity of nature conservation organisations and of government alike, but the report contains few details on what this would look like, or how to measure progress toward achieving it.

The Defra 25 year environment plan is currently being formulated. It is anticipated that the plan may include desirable outcomes for natural capital including biodiversity. For many natural capital benefits, the desirable outcome is already established by science (e.g. air quality), is the focus of active research (e.g. urban green space) or is defined by legislation (e.g. the Water Framework Directive). However, this is not true for biodiversity outcomes.

The Lawton report provides a set of guiding principles from which to define a set of desirable outcomes for England’s biodiversity as well as the high-level vision.

This workshop is intended to develop the scientific principles that could turn the vision into practical plans and measures of success. In doing so it may also raise scientific questions that need to be addressed. While the workshop will be focused on England due to the current policy context, the outcomes are expected to have broad applicability.