Re-wilding projects in the Scottish Highlands and San Diego’s backcountry in southern California by AECOM

Finding answers in nature

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再野化行动的启示
The lessons of rewilding

面对气候变化与生物多样性减少的双重挑战,我们可以采取重建自然生态的解决方案。AECOM的环境科学专家Chris White针对位于苏格兰高地与南加州圣地亚哥偏远地带的再野化项目,开展了相关分析与反思。

Restoring what has been lost in the natural world holds answers to tackling the dual challenge of climate change and biodiversity loss. AECOM’s Chris White looks at the lessons being learnt from re-wilding projects in the Scottish Highlands and San Diego’s backcountry in southern California.

▼苏格兰自然实验室项目,Natural Capital Laboratory © Natural Capital Laboratory project & AECOM COP26 Report

全球大多数人都经历过极端天气——一次次空前严重的热浪曾造成毁灭性的危机,引发了森林大火、特大洪水等恶劣灾害——而这都是气候变化所带来的结果。今年夏季,联合国政府间气候变化专门委员会(IPCC)发表了一次具有里程碑意义的报告,指出极端天气并非偶然事件,它已成为常态。

科学家预测极端天气将在未来更频繁出现。自然栖息地所遭受的人为侵害不仅加剧了气候变化带来的负面影响,也引发了生物多样性危机。世界自然基金会(World Wide Fund)与伦敦动物学会(Zoological Society of London)共同发表的2020年版《地球生命力报告(The Living Planet Report)》警告称,生物多样性“正急剧下降”,1970年至2016年间,全球各生物种群规模已缩减了68%。

The impact of climate change has been felt in the number of extreme weather events around the world that many of us have experienced — from record heatwaves resulting in destructive and sometimes deadly wildfires to severe floods. These are not one- offs: a landmark study released this summer by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said hotter temperatures are here to stay.

This means severe weather events will happen more frequently, its scientists predict. Exacerbating these impacts, manmade damage to natural habitat is causing a biodiversity crisis. The Living Planet Report 2020, by the World Wide Fund for Nature and Zoological Society of London, warned that biodiversity was “crashing,” with a 68 percent decline globally in population sizes across all species between 1970 and 2016.

▼68% 是1970年至2016年间,全球生物种群规模缩小的比例,68% Biodiversity decline globally in population sizes across all species between 1970 and 2016 © Natural Capital Laboratory project & AECOM COP26 Report

联合国开发计划署提供的数据显示,全球人均自然资本——即可再生与不可再生自然资源——自1990年代初期以来已经大约下降了40%。然而,直到自然栖息地遭受破坏、出现退化,我们才恍然领悟到:它们所蕴含的自然资本实则是无价之宝。

面临气候变化与生物多样性锐减的双重危机,其实在大自然中就能找到解法。例如,雨林与泥炭沼泽能吸收并储存大气层中的二氧化碳,修正植被结构则可有效防控山火。重要的是,这些立足自然的解决方案能同时应对两大危机。

According to data from the United Nations Development Programme, worldwide natural capital — our stock of renewable or non-renewable natural resources — has declined by almost 40 percent per person since the early 1990s. But it’s hard to put a value on our natural habitats until they become damaged or degraded, when it suddenly becomes clear that their contribution — the natural capital they hold — is priceless.

Part of the answer to these twin crises may already exist — in nature. If we look to rainforests and peat bogs, for example, they draw carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and store it. Getting the mix of vegetation right has been shown to keep wildfires manageable. Importantly, such nature-based solutions tackle both climate change and loss of biodiversity at the same time.

▼无人机技术可用于实时跟踪环境变化(概念图),Drones can be used to track the impact on the environment in real time © Natural Capital Laboratory project & AECOM COP26 Report

 

自然本身的服务
Services provided by nature

针对有志于为解决全球危机出一份力的土地管理责任组织,我们提出的解决方案,可以帮助他们更好地做出相应决定,提高土地管理与投资的成效。再野化的理念被实施于两个环境迥然不同的地域:苏格兰高地与南加州圣地亚哥的偏远地带,但最终目标基本一致。如今,两地的项目正着手解决人为气候变化带来的负面影响、建立环境韧性,预计将在未来恢复当地的生物多样性。

To help organizations with land stewardship responsibilities who want to make a positive contribution to tackling these global crises, we have developed approaches that will allow them to take better decisions on how they interact with and invest in their land. We are working on significant rewilding projects in two very different habitats — the Highlands of Scotland and San Diego’s backcountry in southern California — with similar aims. Both will restore biodiversity, start to address the impact of manmade climate change and build resilience.

▼苏格兰尼斯湖畔的乡野地区(左),圣地亚哥的偏远地带(右),Countryside around Loch Ness, Scotland(left), San Diego’s backcountry(right) © Natural Capital Laboratory project & AECOM COP26 Report

此外,该理念还被应用于位于澳大利亚西南地区的项目。对三地的生态栖息地开展重建,不仅有利于捕捉、储存二氧化碳,还能抑制生物多样性下降、为项目的实施创造更高的灵活度。

在上述项目中所形成的解决方案,可以推广到其他项目中,这将有助于土地的高效管理。落实到具体实施,第一步便是要严谨评估土地的自然资本,即找出土地的自然资本的形式和数量及可采取的恢复手法。获取和分析自然资本数据是一个重复性的过程,技术则是削减相应成本的关键。这些技术能以一种可估量、可验证的方式衡量项目进度,从而树立投资方与持份者的信心,投资这一新型、可量化、有商业价值且能改善自然的项目。

A third project is also getting underway in southwestern Australia. Restoring habitats in each of these places is achieving the multiple benefits of capturing and storing carbon dioxide, halting biodiversity loss and making operations more resilient.

The approaches we have developed on these and other projects can be replicated to allow landowners to be better stewards of their land. The first step is to rigorously assess the natural capital — what it is, how much of it you have and how you can build it up or restore it if damaged. To reduce the cost of the repetitive processes needed to acquire and analyze data on natural assets, technology is key. Such tools measure progress in a scalable and verifiable way, which is crucial for giving investors and shareholders the confidence to support this new, quantifiable and commercially valuable relationship with nature.

▼位于苏格兰高地的实验室,是场地内唯一的建筑,The laboratory at night, showing the only building on the site © Chris Coupland Photography

在苏格兰,AECOM与Lifescape Project、土地所有者Roger Leese与Emilia Leese以及位于尼斯湖畔的坎布里亚大学通力合作,建立了自然资本实验室(以下简称NCL)。遵循世界自然保护联盟生态系统管理委员会提出的准则,项目团队致力于恢复100英亩森林、建立生物种群之间的联系,并重新引入本地已消失的物种。生成有形量化指标是项目的关键一环:即运用无人机、人工智能、机器人漫游车等技术,对环境变化实施实时监控;为自然贡献赋予经济价值,例如检测实地碳捕捉量与生物多样性变化指标等。

In Scotland, we set up the Natural Capital Laboratory (NCL) in partnership with the Lifescape Project, landowners Roger and Emilia Leese, and the University of Cumbria at a site near Loch Ness. Here the team are using principles from the Commission on Ecosystem Management established by the International Union for Conservation of Nature to restore 100 acres of forest, connect communities and reintroduce lost species. Producing tangible metrics is a key aspect of the project: using technology such as drones, artificial intelligence, robot rovers and to track the impact on the environment in real time, and assigning financial values to the services provided by nature, such as the amount of carbon captured on site and the changes in biodiversity.

▼场地再野化:植树 (苏格兰自然实验室项目),Re-wilding the site: tree planting © Natural Capital Laboratory project & AECOM COP26 Report

这一项目将在2019年到2024年的五年实施期间,通过采用自然资本电子核算工具,实地收集环境条件数据(如土壤及水资源质量);同时还将为环境管理新技术及新方案的开发、测试与上市提供实时试验数据。相关工作已经获得了包括查尔斯(威尔士亲王)等许多知名环保主义者的关注,他的私人电视台以及BBC的《乡村档案(Countryfile)》,都为这一项目制作了纪录片,密切关注项目的相关数据。

Over five years between 2019 and 2024, the project will capture data about environmental conditions at the site, such as soil and water quality, using our digital natural capital accounting tool. It will also act as a live experiment to develop, test and commercialize new tools and approaches for better managing the environment. The work has attracted the interest of prominent conservationists, including Charles, Prince of Wales, whose TV company has made a documentary about the project — as has the BBC’s Countryfile series — and the results are being closely watched.

▼技术人员录音,Technician taking recordings of the site © Natural Capital Laboratory project & AECOM COP26 Report

从一开始,这一项目就旨在成为行业标杆,为其他企业与组织提供参考,鼓励他们建立自身的再野化方案;同时提供能有效降低项目成本的技术工具与方案,推广至各个组织,以实现大范围应用。为此,我们开发了相应的虚拟现实工具,人们只需戴上耳麦,就能看到再野化区域未来的模拟生态状况。

From the outset, our aim was to establish a flagship project to show other companies and organizations how they could set up their own rewilding initiatives, providing tools and approaches that can reduce the costs of such projects and allow organizations to undertake them at scale. As part of this we developed a virtual-reality tool which will enable people to put on a headset and see what the ecology of the area will look like in a future rewilded landscape.

▼基于无人机拍摄,实现的整个场地3D数字虚拟现实模型,A digital 3D virtual reality model based on drone fly-over showing the whole site © Natural Capital Laboratory project & AECOM COP26 Report

NCL的建立还旨在实现一个更宏大的目标,即在全球范围内设立互联站点,并创立国际实验室,为应对气候变化与生物多样性危机,开发新型解决方案。为达成这一目标,AECOM团队已开始在澳大利亚西南地区设立NCL South站点。当地有一片区域曾受到森林大火与集约农业的破坏,通过沿用在苏格兰开发的模型,以着力恢复该区域的生物多样性。与西澳大利亚生物多样性科学研究院(Western Australia Biodiversity Science Institute, WASBI)共同合力复原的退化土地,十分广阔,面积达数百英亩,植物种类数量占澳大利亚全国的三分之一,是全球生物多样性最丰富的地区之一。NCL South将展示生态复原的丰硕成果,也将体现再野化地区如何在农业及其他商业领域发挥重要价值。

The broader aim of NCL is to build a connected series of sites across the world, creating a global laboratory designed to develop new approaches to tackling the climate and biodiversity crises. To this end, the team are now beginning the launch of NCL South in southwestern Australia, to restore biodiversity to an area damaged by forest fires and intensive agriculture, using the model developed in Scotland. We are working with the Western Australia Biodiversity Science Institute (WABSI) to help rehabilitate hundreds of acres of degraded land. The wider region is home to one-third of all Australian plant species and is one of most biodiverse places in the world. The NCL South site will demonstrate what can be achieved through restoration, and how rewilded sites can also provide important value within a farming or other commercial landscape.

▼场地内发现的蜥蜴;相机捕捉到的野鹿,a common lizard found on the site; deer capture from one of the camera traps © Natural Capital Laboratory project & AECOM COP26 Report

对土地实施再野化、恢复自然生态功能不仅是一件好事,项目本身所提供的量化指标与金融指标,还能让全社会清晰认识到保护生态系统的现实价值,意义深远。

We know that rewilding the land and allowing nature to take back control is an inherently good thing to do, but what is exciting about this work is that it arms us with quantitative and financial metrics with which we can demonstrate the practical value to society of restoring ecological processes.

—— Adam Eagle
The Lifescape Project首席执行官, CEO of the Lifescape Project

虽然有些改善目标可在短期内实现,但另一些则可能需要更长时间的努力。草地或湿地栖息地的复原成效较快,而对于森林栖息地而言,可能需要数百年的时间才能见证物种多样性的重塑与森林生态系统功能的完全恢复。但幸运的是,复原过程中的栖息地也同样会孕育出重要的生态系统。如今,我们对气候变化及生物多样性危机已经有了充分的认知,也越来越认识到在这些问题的应对上,企业需要积极发挥作用。对于组织机构而言,要在未来出一份力,就要大胆采取新方案,在这一对时代影响最深远的双重挑战面前,展示出社会凝聚共识所能发挥的重大作用。

While some changes will happen relatively quickly, others are a far more long-term commitment. A wetland habitat or grassland can be restored in a short time, but for a forest habitat it may take hundreds of years to have a fully-functioning woodland system with species diversity. The good news is that intermediary habitats during the restoration period form important ecosystems, too. We are now fully aware of the extent of the climate and biodiversity crises, and there is growing recognition of the critical need for companies to play a positive role in tackling these dilemmas. In order for organizations to remain relevant in future, they will have to adopt bold new approaches to demonstrate how all of us as a society can tackle the two most far-reaching challenges of our times.

▼回归自然,探寻解法,Finding answers in nature © Natural Capital Laboratory project & AECOM COP26 Report

通过提高公众对于全球自然环境与生物多样性所蕴含真正价值的认知,生态系统的管理与恢复能够进一步加快进程、扩大其效能范围。NCL是生态复原实践领域的杰出范例。这一项目不仅能使用自然资本核算,对生态系统的具体贡献进行了详细的记录;还能通过交互式的视觉性电子互动平台,触及世界各地的人群。在优秀的设计理念与准则的驱动下,NCL有可能成为解决全球生物多样性危机的主力。

Recognizing and effectively communicating the true value of the world’s natural landscapes and biodiversity is a major challenge that needs to be overcome if we are to see rapid and large-scale change in the way we manage and restore our ecosystems The Natural Capital Laboratory is a prime example of leading-practice ecological restoration; it provides detailed Natural Capital Accounting for the ecosystem services and connects to a global audience through an interactive and visually engaging digital platform. The NCL’s design and principles have the potential to become a major contributor to solving the global biodiversity crisis.

—— Dr. Renee Young
WASBI生物多样性保护和修复研究总监, research director for biodiversity conservation and restoration at WABSI

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