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Professor Peter Hobson Inaugural Lecture

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Northumberland Building, Lordship Campus,

Lordship Road

Writtle

Chelmsford

CM1 3RR

United Kingdom

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Join us for a special evening celebrating the innovation and achievements of Professor Peter Hobson. Having recently been awarded a professorship, Peter is keen to share highlights of his successful and expansive career so far.

Guests will be greeted with drinks and nibbles in the foyer of the Northumberland building at 6:30pm, before heading into the lecture theatre for the main talk from 7pm. Upon conclusion of the talk at 8pm, there will be an opportunity to ask questions.


Peter’s 32 year career as a higher education lecturer in biodiversity conservation & environmental sustainability includes the last 11 years at Writtle University College during which time he has been instrumental in shaping the development and delivery of both undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the School of Sustainable Environments, just as he has the institute’s research activities. He is currently involved in collaborative research with colleagues from universities in the UK and abroad, which includes supervision of PhD projects in Germany and Portugal.

In 2011 Peter, in collaboration with Professor Pierre Ibisch of Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development, established an international registered organisation, the Centre for Econics & Ecosystem Management, which is dedicated to environmental protection and delivers professional training and project work in ecological conflict zones across the world. Both acting co-directors for the Centre have been key players in the establishment of the Great Altay Transboundary Biosphere Reserve between the Republic of Kazakhstan & Russian Federation, and also more recently, the UNESCO World Heritage inscription for European beech forests across 10 member states of the European Union.

In 2017 Peter helped to establish the European Beech Forest Network and is currently on the steering committee. With substantial external funding the Centre has been active in delivering sustainable land management projects in DPRK, northern Namibia, and the forested regions of Russia as well as in palm oil plantations in Borneo.

Peter has published widely on the subject of biodiversity conservation and sustainability in peer reviewed journals including two papers in Science; various chapters in scientific texts and in international technical series. He is also on the editorial team for the journal - Annals of Forest Research. Over the last five years both Professor Ibisch and Peter have developed techniques for adaptive ecosystem-based management that have been published in four international languages and applied extensively across the globe. Through his outreach activities, Peter sits on various boards, steering groups and committees including Conservation Leadership Programme, Wild Europe, UK Wilderness Foundation, Rewilding Britain, European Society for Conservation Biology Policy Group, Forestry Commission East of England Woodland Group, and UK Stakeholder Sustainable Development network.

In 2017 Peter spearheaded the launch of the Sustainability programme at Writtle University College. Peter has a life-long passion for bird painting and in the past has been commissioned by WWF, RSPB, Save the Rhino Trust and the Zambian Wildlife Trust to exhibit his work. He has also provided technical illustrations for five major scientific text books in forest and coastal ecology.

Professor Peter R Hobson

www.centreforeconics.org


A new and radical treaty between man and nature

Abstract:

The mid term assessment on global biodiversity published in 2014 by the Convention for Biological Diversity reveals systemic failure to slow down declines in populations for the world’s mammals, birds, amphibians and corals. The principal cause of biodiversity decline and extinction is habitat loss, and based on the species-area curve, a decrease in habitat results in a drop in the sustainable number of species by approximately the fourth root of the habitable area. At a global scale and in the current socio-economic climate, and despite setting aside 17% of terrestrial land and 10% of ocean for nature, the prognosis for biodiversity is for a 50% loss of all known species by the end of the century. Popularly dubbed the ‘sixth extinction’, scientists and decision-makers are in broad agreement that the main drivers are the accumulative effects of relentless human population growth coupled with technologically-driven consumption of the planet’s resources. By 2100 the estimated human population is likely to reach 11.2 billion, pushing beyond the current levels of 40% appropriation of the products of photosynthesis. And then, the long term pressures climate change will impose on natural ecosystems and the world’s peoples have yet to be realistically factored in to current scenarios for species survival and socio-economic sustainability.

Edward Wilson argues there is compelling scientific research to support his radical idea of portioning 50% of the planet for protecting biodiversity. Anything less will fail to meet targets to substantially reduce the loss of species. A vision of this scale would require dismantling existing spatial and behavioral models for human development and replacing them with innovative human-nature spaces designed along principles of thermodynamics and complex self-ordering systems. I propose there are two dimensions to a radical man-nature treaty. The most obvious and easiest dimension is about spatial design and land use. Applying the 3 zones spatial model for biosphere reserves to regional, national and continental scales, the urban – rural – wild land interface would be organised around core zones made up of mega-cities. Large, densely populated cities are more resource and energy efficient than dispersed populations in smaller towns and the need for extensive road networks, powerlines and pipelines is greatly reduced. Surrounding the cities, sustainably managed rural buffer zones would provide urban communities with most of the services and natural goods. The wider matrix of extensive, highly functional natural ecosystems would secure biodiversity and provide the planet and people with the necessary resilience to combat long-term, environmental macro-changes. All three zones would be interconnected by natural water courses and green infrastructure, and utilization of natural resources for food, energy and materials would harness technologies in sustainable science. The second dimension to the treaty would promote social endeavor beyond economic growth, a profound shift away from material measures of social well-being towards a more human-centered culture with the focus on education, health and spiritual well-being. Effectively, a paradigm of de-globalization would engineer a dramatic reduction in the transfer of natural resources and energy as well as in material goods whilst allowing for open exchange of knowledge, information and people.

Peter R Hobson

Centre for Econics & Ecosystem Management

Writtle University College

www.centreforeconics.org

www.writtle.ac.uk

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Northumberland Building, Lordship Campus,

Lordship Road

Writtle

Chelmsford

CM1 3RR

United Kingdom

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