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Land Degradation, Desertification and Climate Change: Anticipating, assessing and adapting to future change

Wednesday 8 June 2016
Level 8 Seminar Rm (8.119), School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds

Prof. Mark Reed and Prof. Lindsay Stringer will be discussing land degradation, desertification and climate change, as part of the Sustainability Research Institute's seminar series.

Climate change and land degradation can drive or exacerbate one another through positive and negative feedbacks. Higher temperatures, changing precipitation patterns and more extreme weather combine with human-induced drivers to fuel soil erosion. In turn, severe land degradation reduces the provision of ecosystem services, with devastating consequences for food production, human wellbeing and the climate. Land degradation releases carbon which exacerbates climate change. Today approximately one-quarter of all human greenhouse gas emissions come from land use activities.

While much is known about the processes and effects of land degradation and climate change as individual problems, little is understood about the links between these two challenges. Less still is known about how these processes are likely to interact in different socio-ecological systems around the world and what this means for society’s abilities to adapt to these interlinked issues. This seminar presents highlights from a new book entitled “Land Degradation, Desertification and Climate Change: Anticipating, assessing and adapting to future change”. It places people at the centre of analysis and outlines ways in which people need to work together in order to anticipate, assess and successfully adapt to future change. It shows how some adaptations can tackle both climate change and land degradation, while at the same time protecting livelihoods and biodiversity.

About the Speakers:

Mark S. Reed is HEFCE N8 Professor of Socio-technical innovation at Newcastle University. He was previously Professor of Interdisciplinary Environmental Research at Birmingham City University and prior to that, Director of the Aberdeen Centre for Environmental Sustainability at the James Hutton Institute and the University of Aberdeen. He is currently a coordinating author for the UN Convention to Combat Desertification’s first Global Land Outlook which is to be published on World Desertification Day (June 17th) 2017.

Lindsay C. Stringer is Professor in Environment and Development at the Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds. She was Director of the Sustainability Research Institute from 2011-2014. She was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize for her research on sustainable development in drylands in 2013 and is currently a coordinating lead author for the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Africa Regional Assessment and Lead Author for the IPBES Land Degradation and Restoration Assessment.

The seminar will be held at 4pm – directions to the School of Earth and Environment can be found here.