News Archive 2008 June-Dec

Ecosystems assessment
The Centre has been involved in a consultation to review proposals for undertaking a national assessment of ecosystem services between 2009-10. The assessment is being led by Defra, and staff at the Centre have produced a formal response to help shape the exercise as part of a larger submission by the Peninsula Partnership for the Rural Environment.
Response to Defra's proposal for undertaking a National Ecosystem Assessment
December 2008
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Commission for Rural Communities inquiry
The Commission for Rural Communities has launched an inquiry into the future of upland communities. The purpose of the Inquiry is:
To identify and evaluate the key drivers of change in England's upland communities
To develop and promote realistic policy recommendations that enable and equip these communities to move towards more secure, economically prosperous and sustainable futures
The Inquiry wil be chaired by Stuart Burgess CRC Chair and the Prime Minister's Rural Advocate. Michael Winter is Vice-Chair and other Commissioners on the Inquiry Team are Professor Mark Shucksmith of Newcastle University, Jim Cox, Howard Petch, and John Varley of Clinton (Devon) Estates and a member of the CRPR's Advisory Board.
November 2008
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New CRPR Research Fellow appointed
We are delighted that Naoimh McMahon will be joining us later this month as a Research Fellow working on issues of climate chnage and agricultural policy. Naoimh joins us from Trinity College Dublin where she undertook her PhD with leading rural sociologist Professor Hilary Tovey. Naoimh's main research interests in her career to date have been the relationships between nature and society, the geo-politics of global poverty, and the politics of policy-making.
November 2008
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Adapting to Climate Change
Peninsula Partnership for the Rural Environment (PPRE) has responded to the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution's call for evidence on “Adapting the UK to Climate change
Response to Royal Commission.
November 2008
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Seminar on Sustainable Communities & Ecosystem Management
Dr Rob Fish recently attended a two day NERC/ESRC seminar on sustainable communities and ecosystem management, held in the Dee Catchment, near Aberdeen. The event was led by the Macaulay Institute and is part of the FRESH seminar series being co-ordinated by Rob and the Centre for Environmental Management, University of Nottingham.
More details about the series
November 2008
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New Programme of Sustainability Seminars
All on Mondays, 1.00 - 2.00 pm, Poldhu Room, Kay Labs
Supported by GWR
Programme
October 2008
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Michael Winter talk
On Thursday 16th October, Michael Winter gave a talk on 'Cornwall and the Knowledge Economy' in his capacity as a member of the SW RDA's Panel of Economists.
October 2008
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Keith Howe recruited to DEFRA project steering group
Keith Howe has been recruited to the Steering Group for the DEFRA-funded research project 'Assessment of tailored farm-level biosecurity strategies for beef suckler farms in England and Wales.'
October 2008
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New PhD students
We welcome three new Politics PhD students this Autumn. Ben Love will be working on rural recreation particularly issues around access to rivers in the south west. Dragana Repak will be looking at issues of water policy in Serbia and Croatia. And Gill Westcott is interested in understanding climate change denial.
September 2008
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Michael Winter addresses the Annual Meeting of the Devon Association of Parish Councils
On Saturday 27th September Michael Winter gave the keynote address to the DAPC on the work of the Commission for Rural Communities, particularly its "Participation Inquiry" on local government. Michael spoke of the need for central government to deepen its commitment to local democracy and the devolution of power to town and parish councils.
Presentation
September 2008
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On Tuesday 23rd September, Michael Winter spoke at the SW Chamber of Rural Enterprise Plenary Session on the future of environmental payments in agriculture.
September 2008
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Dr Keith Howe will be presenting "A Review of Current Animal Health Economics" at a workshop on New Approaches in Animal Health Economics on 3rd October 2008. The workshop has been organised by the Business Economics Group, Wageningen University, Netherlands.
September 2008
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Alan Hopkins presented the opening plenary paper, "Forage production and utilisation in an era of climate change", at the 13th International Conference on Forage Conservation at Nitra, Slovakia on 3rd September 2008.
September 2008
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Georgina Crossman (CRPR PhD student) was in Sweden this summer to examine networks within the horse sector. She was based with Professor Hans Andersson in the Department of Economics at SLU (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences ) in Ultuna near Uppsala. The trip was funded by the Stapledon Memorial Trust. While she was there, she carried out a number of interviews with people in the sector, from amateur and professional riders to key figures within the industry and policy makers.
Georgina will be returning to Sweden for a week in November to complete interviews, and will be undertaking a similar exercise in Holland in October (funded by the Murray Black Award, British Society for Animal Science).
September 2008
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CRPR Director Michael Winter has given a key note address at the launch of Devon Wildife Trust's Working Wetlands project to safeguard Culm grasslands in the north and west of the county. He also spoke at the recent AGM of the East Devon AONB.
June 2008
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Congratulations to Jacob Bull who has successfully defended his PhD thesis on "Valuable Ecologies: A Geography of Angling".
Jake was supervised by Michael Winter and Mike Leyshon. His external examiners were Professor Charles Watkins of the University of Nottingham and Dr Simon Naylor.
June 2008
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CRPR Associate Professor Henry Buller advises on French rural development
Henry has been appointed to the French Ministry of Agriculture's Rural Development Plan Evaluation Committee and to the Research and Prospective Council of the Federation of French Regional Nature Parks.

June 2008
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CRPR Associates Martin Turner and Keith Robbins report on South West hill farming under threat
Commissioned by the Duchy of Cornwall and Dartmoor and Exmoor National Park Authorities, this research paints a bleak picture of the outlook for hill farming. As Martin Turner said: “Hill farmers are rightly expected to deliver a wide range of ‘public goods’, to support wildlife for example, alongside their farming activities. However, our work has shown that their current financial position is already far from robust, and that the projected cut-back in public support over the next few years will further compromise the viability of some of these businesses. Our research calls into question the longer-term future of traditional hill farming systems unless further targeted support can be found.”
The research found that many hill farmers are already getting less than the national minimum wage for their work and absolutely no return on their investment. With an average Farm Business Income of less than £10,000 many hill farms are simply not viable at the present time even before the projected cut-back in public funding. Public funding from government has long been viewed as the key to a viable hill farming industry, with successive policies aimed at supporting these farms dating back more than sixty years. This report suggests that while hill farmers are supportive of their new, broader role they have become more economically vulnerable, which does not bode well for the future protection, maintenance and enhancement of the natural and historic environment of the region’s moorland.
Executive Summary

June 2008

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Dr Claire Dunlop has been awarded a British Academy grant to fund her research project ‘Salience, credibility and legitimacy in knowledge production: the case of Bovine Tuberculosis in the UK’
More details
June 2008

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Michael Winter attended the SW RDA Economists panel on Thursday19th June and presented a paper on the casues of recent increase in global food prices and the implications for the SW.

June 2008
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What future for SW Livestock?
South west agriculture is critically dependent on livestock and, notwithstanding escalating global food prices, the region's livestock sector continues to face some real challenges. The economics of the beef sector was recently explored in detail at the Plymouth Rural Futures Confernce by CRPR researcher, Sally Thompson.
Link to paper

June 2008

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