Impacts of large-scale upland management change on ecosystem services

Academic Lead – Joseph Holden (Leeds)

The proposed network will bring together expertise from both the natural and social sciences to assess impacts of potentially imminent large-scale upland management change on ecosystem services and in particular; (i) hydrological, sedimentological and carbon cycling services and processes; (ii) catchment-scale assessment of ecosystem ‘quality’ and (iii) the value placed on ecosystem services by different stakeholders. It will undertake internationally excellent policy-relevant research. We will develop strategically important linkages between existing internationally recognised research groups within the White Rose partner universities who have never collaborated before. We will also develop linkages with inter-institutional collaborative centres with substantial White Rose involvement (e.g. UK Population Biology Network – UKPopNet) that have not previously worked together.

It is anticipated that the multi-disciplinary nature of the proposed network will provide strong training opportunities for the three students and for all of the staff involved in the network, and that linkages within the wider supervisory network will provide a focus for ongoing collaboration which would not otherwise exist. Considerable added-value (financially and strategically) will be realised through use of the experimental collaboration to be developed at sites in the Berwyns (RSPB) and Dark Peak (United Utilities) and through linkages with other major landowners such as Yorkshire Water who have already agreed to additional support for one of the studentships thereby ensuring KT value-added. If the network is approved we will also seek additional funding from other private and public sector partners (as well as research councils) to further support and develop the collaboration in the long-term. We aim to have regular network meetings where all students and supervisors meet to discuss project progress, integrated network issues (e.g. links between the three projects) and new ideas and in which additional researchers and stakeholders will be invited to share and develop ideas. Collaborative and interdisciplinary capacity will also be built through the network by utilising the same study sites for all three studentships (e.g. field meetings, mutual support on field campaigns etc).