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Month: January 2024

Wildfire science enters the Spanish Congress 

The work of Oficina C brings science to policymaking in Spain 

In 2019, the church of Notre Dame burnt down. Citizens of Hong Kong took the streets to protest for a better democracy. Students protested against inequality in Chile. The Amazon burned (and the hashtag #PrayforAmazonas went viral). Theresa May resigned as prime minister of the UK, and Simone Biles became the gymnast with the most medals in the history of world championships. Anyone slightly following the news probably remembers most of these events. 

However, in this blogpost I will talk about something else that happened in 2019, in this case in Spain, that went unheard of for most. It was the year when the Spanish Congress approved the creation of the Office for Science and Technology (Oficina C), in order to support a scientifically informed debate in the lower House. And you may wonder why is this relevant at all. It is relevant, because we live in the era of the “post-truth”. An era when fake-news appear on a daily basis, and where online disinformation is a matter of public concern. Making scientific findings accessible for policymakers has always been relevant, but now we need to facilitate evidence-based discussions more than ever.  

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New Horizon project WILDCARD reveals contribution of rewilding to EU’s climate and biodiversity goals

All over Europe, nature is making a comeback. As more people move to cities and other land use changes occur, the EU’s forest area is growing, having increased by almost 10% (+14 million hectares) between 1990 and 2020. On top of that, a total of 10-29 million hectares of agricultural land are likely to be abandoned between 2000 and 2030. This leaves potential for native flora, fauna and complex ecosystems to reclaim space, bringing natural ‘rewilding’ to the center of Europe’s environmental policy discussions.

Understanding how rewilding can contribute to solving the climate and biodiversity crises is crucial for the successful implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy, the EU Nature Restoration Law, and the EU Green Deal – a mission to be tackled by the new Horizon Europe project WILDCARD. Starting in January 2024, the project is, for the first time, systematically assessing the impacts of two major rewilding approaches on carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation at the European scale. Currently, a lack of comprehensive research on the topic prevents rewilding from being fully integrated into Europe’s strategy to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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