Invasive non-native species

Research suggests that the threat from invasive non-native species (INNS) is growing. Biological invasions by INNS harm native species and habitats and can have economic impacts. Biosecurity measures can be adopted to prevent the introduction and spread of INNS. This POSTnote summarises the drivers and impacts of INNS and the measures needed to meet national and international environmental targets.

Invasive non-native species

Reducing peatland emissions

Peat soils store greenhouse gases for millennia if they stay waterlogged. However, an estimated 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions are released from peat soils due to their modification by humans. Reducing these emissions will help meet climate targets, with objectives to achieve this set out in action plans by the governments of the UK. This POSTnote describes the pressures on peat soils and summarises the challenges for reducing emissions from English peatlands.

Reducing peatland emissions

Financial risks of nature loss

Nature loss poses risks to the financial sector via the businesses they invest in, lend to, advise and insure. The financial risks of nature loss are embedded within the financial systems but are little understood or addressed by financial institutions. The POSTnote will outline the current understanding of the type and scale of the financial risks of nature loss and look at potential mechanisms to improve company level reporting and mitigation of both the financial risks of nature loss, and nature loss itself.

Financial risks of nature loss
  • POSTbrief

    Mining and the sustainability of metals

    The mining and processing of minerals underpins modern technology and infrastructure. Each year, over 3.3 billion tonnes of metals are produced globally, and most predictions of demand show increasing consumption of metals in the coming decades, including in renewable energy generation, electric vehicles and batteries. The transition of the world’s economies and industries to more sustainable energy and technologies will require more mining and processing of non-renewable mineral resources, with associated positive and negative impacts on the environment and society.

  • POSTnote

    Genome edited food crops

    Genome editing creates the possibility of making more precise alterations in the DNA of food crop plants than existing approaches. This POSTnote: describes genome editing technology; identifies which food crops are currently undergoing editing and why; describes the regulation and registration of genome-edited food crops; discusses issues around trade; and describes stakeholder views about the technology.

  • POSTnote

    Restoring agricultural soils

    Changes to the management of agricultural soil could contribute to improving the ability of soils to produce crops, as well as to wider benefits including mitigating future climate change. This POSTnote summarises the state of England’s agricultural soils and evaluates soil stewardship opportunities. Soil indicators that could be used for monitoring in policy frameworks and incentives relating to soil restoration are explored.

  • POSTnote

    Reducing agricultural pressures on freshwater ecosystems

    Freshwater ecosystems in the UK face a myriad of pressures, with agricultural activities a leading source of impacts. Defra’s Agricultural Transition Plan proposes a “systems” approach to mitigate environmental pressures. This POSTnote first describes the components of UK freshwater catchments, then summarises opportunities for developing a more integrated approach to addressing the pressures that agricultural practices place on freshwaters.

  • POSTbrief

    Sustainable land management: managing land better for environmental benefits

    England is at a historical crossroad for the governance of land and the natural environment. Actions for addressing and adapting to climate change, achieving food security and tackling the biodiversity crisis are all embedded in and depend on how land is managed. Existing Government policy and targets have so far failed to address many of these complexities of land, farming and the natural environment.

  • POSTnote

    Energy sector digitalisation

    The incorporation of digital technologies in the energy sector can support progress towards key UK objectives such as achieving Net Zero emissions targets. It can also transform current methods of energy generation, transmission, regulation, and trading. This POSTnote presents an overview of key digital technologies and their main applications in the energy sector. It provides an overview of the potential benefits to using these technologies, and recent developments in this area. It describes the role of data in underpinning digital technologies in the sector, and some of the issues raised by its use. It also discusses broader challenges associated with energy sector digitalisation and measures that could help address them, including issues related to technology, regulation, and impact on consumers.

  • POSTnote

    Local nature recovery strategies

    The UK Government is introducing Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS) from April 2022 to map where local habitat improvement and restoration could address national-scale environmental objectives. This POSTnote summarises the LNRS approach, including mapping ecological networks, the opportunities for LNRSs to deliver wider benefits to nature and people, and the likely challenges associated with the strategies and their delivery.

  • POSTnote

    Blue carbon

    Marine ecosystems around the UK can both increase and decrease atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Carbon loss and gain globally by these ecosystems has the potential to influence climate change. This POSTnote summarises the marine ecosystems in the UK that contribute to these processes, their current and potential future extent, and pressures on them.

  • POSTnote

    Environmental housing standards

    Buildings have varied impacts on the environment, arising from energy, water and land use as well as the release of pollutants. Residential buildings also affect occupants’ health and wellbeing through their design and placement within the wider environment. This POSTnote summarises the factors affecting a building’s environmental performance, the existing governance framework and the potential opportunities for delivering wider social benefits through relevant standards.

  • POSTnote

    Coastal management

    The UK coastline is shaped by interactions between complex social, ecological, and physical processes. Increasing coastal flood and erosion risk is a major climate adaptation challenge. This POSTnote examines coastal management in England, associated issues and how an adaptive approach can better prepare the country for uncertain future sea level rise under climate change.

  • POSTnote

    Regulating product sustainability

    Products can be designed to maximise life cycle energy- and resource-efficiency, from raw material extraction to end-of-life treatment. This POSTnote outlines key aspects of, and consumer attitudes towards, sustainable products. It considers challenges associated with their design, production, regulation and supporting business models as part of a circular economy. ‘End-of-life’ treatment and value recovery, through reuse, recycling and other methods, are discussed.

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