Respect for our ecosystems

27th January 2022

Hello, and welcome to another edition of Transform magazine. We hope this finds you safe and well, and you are having a productive and successful year so far.

Sir Partha Dasgupta’s report on the economics of biodiversity was hailed as ground-breaking when it was published last year, highlighting the paucity of the value we place on nature compared to the value we receive from it. In this issue, we speak to him about his report and his reflections since it was released.

The report speaks powerfully of the value that we as a species derive from ecosystems, and we have three articles this month that consider different aspects of these ecosystem services. In one, David Burrows looks at the pros and cons of carbon offsetting. Is it a useful tool on the transition towards a net zero economy, or ‘greenwash’, used by polluting companies to avoid making tough choices in terms of carbon reduction?

“Sir Partha Dasgupta’s report highlights the paucity of the value we place on nature compared to the value we receive from it”

Hundreds of years ago in the UK, the beaver was hunted to extinction for meat, fur and other products. A limited recent re-introduction has been considered a success, and some conservationists say a wider roll-out is the best chance for ecosystems to flourish and biodiversity to increase in riverine areas. However, there are concerns that beavers can cause flooding to farmland and urban environments. So, are they the saviours or the destroyers of habitats - or is the truth somewhat more complex?

Anyone who has had Japanese knotweed on their land knows what a nightmare this can be in the plant’s adopted home of the UK. It can grow from a tiny piece of root into a plant that can crack through concrete and tarmac. Many tonnes of it is removed every year, but is there a better use for this than consigning it to landfill? One of our Fellows, Nic Seal, explains his company’s answer to the problem.

I very much hope you enjoy the magazine. As always, if you have any comments, thoughts, or ideas for articles, please do let us know.

Sarah Mukherjee MBE, CEO, IEMA


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