Category Archives: PSC Science-Policy Fellowship

Fixing carbon in subtropical forest to mitigate climate change

How to transfer the knowledge to farmers

By Yuanyuan Huang

What evidence was useful for policymaking?

Huang et al (2018) in close cooperation between University of Zurich and the Institute of Botany of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China, searched the links between to forests diversity and forest ecosystem services in a large biodiversity experiment in a subtropical forest in China.

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Effects of seasonal drought on the productivity of grasslands

Recommendations for a sustainable fodder production in changing climate

by Claudia Hahn

What was the main impact for policy?

Claudia Hahn in her fellowship from European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme, IDP BRIDGES delivered integral knowledge directly for farmers and their farming practices, but also for the future education of farmers. Moreover, this project sensitized the farmers for climate change and associated problems and possibilities. On basis of this highly topical study successional projects have already been started.

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The influences of N₂-fixing green alder and atmospheric nitrogen deposition on the nitrogen balance in close to natural ecosystems

by Dr. Tobias Bühlmann
Alumni in PSC Science & Policy, now at METAS

What was the main impact for policy?

The work of Bühlmann et al. (2017) in cooperation with the University of Basel and the Forum Biodiversity Switzerland resulted in the change of the subsidy system of the cooperation Urseren favoring Engadine sheep in 2013. Furthermore, the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) adjusted the model for calculation the indirect NO and N2O emissions from close to natural ecosystems in Switzerland (Bühlmann et al. 2015).

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Rewriting Our Food Supply

Devang Mehta summarized  in his short opinion report some of the current discussion how genome editing could revolutionize agriculture. Starting out with the technology at hand and outlining the importance of natural variation and creating diversity, Devang Mehta shows what a new agriculture using genome editing could look like and puts things in a global perspective while referring to the pressing legal questions regarding patenting, ownership and funding that are addressed in the current public, political and expert debate. The opinion report is addressed to the lay public.

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Maintaining biodiversity and managing oil palm expansion

What can policy papers and scenarios achieve?

By John Garcia-Ulloa

Oil palm extension remains an important environmental topic given the large negative impacts it can have on tropical biodiversity.
John Garcia-Ulloa had developed models and scenarios to understand biodiversity change in oil-palm landscapes under REDD+ initiatives during his science-policy fellowship from PSC and Mercator Foundation Switzerland.
In 2014 a close collaboration between ETH Zurich and IUCN was established to convene stakeholders from the oil palm sector and develop a strategy for IUCN to address the impacts of oil palm expansion on biodiversity. The main activity within the fellow’s internship at the policy Partner was to convene a group of experts to develop guidelines for the protection of biodiversity on oil-palm landscapes for IUCN.

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Co-production of pollination services in coffee plantations

Developing sustainable management scenarios

By Charlotte Pavageau

What was the main impact for policy?

Pavageau et al in close cooperation between ETH Zurich and the
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), India searched the links between pollination service, coffee production and land use in coffee plantations in India.

Land-use allocation has multiple and complex economic and environmental implications. Thus designing optimal land-use is a key challenge for decision-makers and policies aiming at promoting sustainable development for a given region. The results of this study contributed to inform land-use and agricultural policies on the consequences of different collective decision-making scenarios on coffee productivity, economic gain and biodiversity conservation, by using landscape-scale ecosystem services models. This is important for better planning of land-use policy.

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Molecular identification methods for carrying out origin analysis for illegally logged and transported Malagasy rosewood

By Sonja Hassold

What was the main impact for policy?

Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot and its forests harbor a vast diversity of precious woods. For decades, ever increasing demand for timber on the international market and its high commercial value have led to massive illegal exploitation of rosewood, palisander and ebony species in Madagascar. Controlling the international trade of illegally logged timber is challenging. One reason is that logs and sawn wood are difficult to assign to species or geographic origin (provenance).

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PSC-Mercator Alumni co-authored IUCN Report on Oil palm and biodiversity

John Garcia-Ulloa, a PSC Science and Policy alumni, worked on a “Comprehensive Trade-off Analysis of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) Implementation”. Based on this work and a secondment within the framework of his fellowship, he co-authored the recently published IUCN report on “Oil palm and biodiversity: A situation analysis by the IUCN Oil Palm Task Force”.

The situation analysis primarily focuses on oil palm in the context of biodiversity  conservation based on literature published before 31 January 2018, and aims to provide a constructive pathway to addressing sustainability challenges in the palm oil industry. This report does not assess the social and economic implications of palm oil production and expansion but will refer to these when they are likely to have an impact on biodiversity conservation. Through identification of key knowledge gaps, the situation analysis will also provide direction to the Oil Palm Task Force in terms of seeking to address these knowledge gaps in the remainder of the 2017-2020 Quadrennium. Read more …