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GSI Seminar Series: Can seaweed farming provide more than just food? and Where and how to plant trees for Net Zero

A Global Systems Institute seminar
Date14 December 2022
Time14:00 to 15:00
PlaceBuilding:One Pearson Teaching Room

If you would like to join online and are not a member of the GSI please email info.gsi@exeter.ac.uk

Speakers: Sophie Corrigan and Kevin Donkers

Speaker: Sophie Corrigan

Can seaweed farming provide more than just food?


Aquaculture is the fastest growing marine sector globally, and it promises to contribute significantly to future food and energy security. Algae, including seaweeds, form >20% of total aquaculture production biomass, and algal cultivation is growing rapidly compared with other farmed species (approximately 8% yr−1) following the growth and diversification in global markets for algal or seaweed products, including everything from fertilisers to bio-plastics. Beyond the direct commercial value of seaweed products, the responsible expansion of seaweed farms could provide even more value in terms of environmental benefits. Many of these environmental effects relate to key ecosystem services including climate regulation, storm protection, biogeochemical cycling and provisioning of food and habitat to support secondary production for wild capture fisheries. The proposed ecosystem services enhanced by seaweed farming would support several UN sustainable development goals including: contributing to global health and well-being; providing economic growth and resilience in coastal communities; enabling responsible consumption and production; facilitating climate action and benefiting marine ecosystems. In this talk, Sophie will explore the potential for seaweed to offer more than just a sustainable food source. 

Speaker: Kevin Donkers 

Sharing, sparing and hedging: Where and how to plant trees for Net Zero


In order to meet Net Zero targets by 2050, the UK will have to plant more trees. With 70% of our land area used for agriculture, many of those trees will be planted on farms. The question is - how? Monoculture coniferous forestry sequesters a lot of carbon fast, but has poor biodiversity credentials and displaces food production. Agroforestry practices improve biodiversity and retain food production capacity, but low carbon sequestration densities mean more land needs to be converted to meet Net Zero targets. My research explores this tension between land sharing and land sparing approaches to tree planting at scale, factoring in the uncertainty of climate change, using biophysical models, climate projection ensembles and statistical modelling.

To join email- infogsi@exeter.ac.uk

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