Scotland Member Network Event: The Natural Capital Laboratory

The Natural Capital Laboratory (NCL) is a ground-breaking project set up in the Highlands of Scotland that is the first project in the world to implement the IUCN’s principles of rewilding in a real world setting. The project explores how nature-based solutions can be used to tackle the climate and biodiversity crisis. Alongside the restoration of a spectacular slice of the Scottish Highlands, the NCL is a live laboratory for testing and implementing cutting edge technologies that can be used to better manage and monitor environmental change such as AI, remote sensing, drones, and environmental DNA.

To do this, the NCL brings together a truly collaborative team made up of individuals from multinational companies (AECOM), international organisations (IUCN), government departments (Defra), conservation NGOs (the Lifescape Project), academic institutions (Universities of Cumbria, Kent, Imperial, Edinburgh, and Hull), UK tech focused SMEs (NatureMetrics), local businesses (Crosscut Forestry), private landowners (Roger & Emilia Leese) as well as a team of artists, communications specialists, and volunteers.

– Tony Marshall, AECOM Associate Director and member of the Scottish section committee presented work being carried out to investigate the potential for restoration of degraded bog at the NCL.
– Chris White, AECOM Associate Director has a leading role in the NCL and drives the collaborative efforts between multi-disciplinary specialists. Chris gave an introduction to natural capital generally, and give     some background to the NCL.
– Erin Gianferrara, Principal Environmental Economist at AECOM talked about digital Natural Capital accounting.
– Pete Cowley, Associate Aquatic Ecologist, AECOM and Benjamin Barca, Head of Conservation, NatureMetrics presented work on aquatic ecology and eDNA.
– Max Heaver discussed rewilding and species reintroductions.

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