Past Events


This event has been cancelled – 4th May: Data Integration in R, Somerville College, Oxford.

BES Agricultural and Quantitative Ecology Special Interest Groups are joining forces to give a one day workshop on approaches to integrating datasets within and across disciplines. Integrating datasets allows new questions to be asked but produces challenges in matching up datasets at different spatial and temporal resolutions, in ensuring continuity of meaning between datasets from different disciplines and in managing a complex workflow.

The workshop will include a brief introduction from the workshop organisers on the key issues in data integration followed by some time for facilitated discussion about experiences, techniques and opportunities with three invited facilitators with extensive experience in this area; Felix Eigenbrod (University of Southampton), John Redhead (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology) and Lisa Norton (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology). In the afternoon attendees will be introduced to some practical techniques in R to address some of the issues discussed in the morning session.

A basic knowledge of R prior to the workshop would be useful, and attendees are expected to bring their own laptops for the practical session. We will provide weblinks to basic introductions to R. Attendees should leave the workshop with a better understanding of the issues surrounding data integration, some practical techniques to help with data integration tasks and an improved ability to identify opportunities for integrated analyses in their area of research. The workshop is open to all and is not restricted to those working in an agricultural setting. Lunch, teas and coffees will be included.

Book your place here

4th April: Insect farming in the UK – workshop, Charles Darwin House, London.

The use of insect derived products is growing globally. In the UK, insect for human consumption are already being sold in restaurants, on shop shelves, and online, mainly using imported insect produce. Crickets and mealworms are being grown and sold as food for exotic pets. There is increasing interest in using insects in aquaculture and animal feeds, as well as a source of non-food products, such as biodiesel.

This workshop, organised by ADAS with support from the British Ecological Society, the Royal Entomological Society, and the Woven Network will bring together key scientists, industry representatives, policy makers and early innovators from across the UK. Our objectives are to:

  1. Highlight the challenges of insect farming in the UK;
  2. Identify the priorities for initiating a UK farming industry;
  3. Provide a networking opportunity to encourage innovation.

Book your place here

29-31st March:  7th meeting of the IOBC/WPRS Working Group Landscape management for functional biodiversity, The Malmaison Hotel, Dundee

We are happy to announce that the 7th meeting of the IOBC/WPRS Working Group “Landscape management for functional biodiversity” in conjunction with a meeting of the British Ecological Society Agricultural Ecology Special Interest Group will be hosted by The James Hutton Institute.

The meeting will bring together scientists with land managers, conservation bodies and other stakeholders to discuss the latest advances in the research, development and application of landscape management for functional biodiversity with the aim of identifying barriers to landscape management and opportunities to tackle these.

The program allows ample time for scientific presentations and an opportunity for participants to interact socially.

Please note the registration fee includes attendance at IOBC/WPRS2017 Conference including refreshments, lunch and the conference dinner, plus a field excursion to see sustainable approaches to farming in Angus and to sample local produce.

Book your place here


CANCELLED November 24: A Discussion on GM Crops and Their Place in Food Systems

Thursday 24th November 2016

Is there a role for GM crops in sustainable food systems?

Charles Darwin House, London

Public concerns around GM crops and foods have led to national and EU policies which have placed a moratorium on the cultivation of GM crops, though not research of GM crops, or the use of GM crops in feed of farmed animals raised and consumed within the EU.

Stereotypically, the GM debate is highly polarised, comprising pro-GM biotechnologists and businesses or anti-GM groups spanning ecologists on one side, and a wide range of nongovernmental organisations and public advocacy groups on the other. What is often lost in this polarised debate is the urgent need to produce our food more sustainably, and that the most healthy food options are encouraged.

This discussion aims to avoid polarisation and enable an openminded discussion to achieve greater objectivity regarding the question: can GM crops help deliver more sustainable and resilient farm and food systems?

There will be presentations by:
– Colin Campbell, Chief Executive Officer, James Hutton Institute
– Geoff Tansey, Writer, Consultant & Trustee of Food Ethics Council

Then feedback from an expert panel comprising:
– Kathryn Green, Sustainability Manager, Linking Environment & Farming (LEAF)
– Wendy Harwood, Senior Scientist, Crop genetics, John Innes Centre
– Chris Warburton Brown, Research Coordinator, Permaculture Association

Followed by an “Open House” session: questions from the floor.

There will be a cheese and wine reception: after the end of formal discussions.

When: Thursday, 24 November 2016 from 14:00 to 17:30 (GMT)
Where: British Ecological Society – Darwin House 12 Roger St, London, WC1N 2JU


Friday 14th October 2016

Agro-ecology Early Careers Event: Roles of Ecologists in Agriculture

Charles Darwin House, London

Wondering where careers in agro-ecology lead after a PhD?

Join us at our early careers event to hear from four established scientists about the diverse roles of ecology in agriculture, and find out what possibilities await you!

We would like to invite researchers to submit abstracts to present talks and posters at the event.  It will be a great chance for sharing ideas and networking with other early career researchers.

Please submit abstracts to, click to register

Friday 23rd September 2016

Rewilding in abandoned agricultural landscapes: opportunities and impacts

Rewilding meeting of the British Ecological Society’s Agricultural Ecology and Forest Ecology special interest groups, co-sponsored by Earthwatch Institute and the Oxford Centre for Tropical Forests. University of Oxford, Abandonment of marginally productive land is taking place at an unprecedented scale worldwide. This rapid form of land-use change has uncertain implications for ecosystem services, including carbon storage and water regulation, nitrogen cycling and soil integrity. Rewilding has been identified as an conservation opportunity for abandoned agricultural land, but such initiatives may have uncertain outcomes for the biodiversity and cultural heritage of semi-natural landscapes, which often have an ancient human management legacy. The meeting will present evidence around the opportunities and risks of land- these use changes for former agricultural landscapes. Our debate will identify how the greatest benefits of agricultural abandonment can be realised, while identifying areas where this process has the potential to cause environmental harm. The meeting will encourage dialogue towards developing a new framework to identify and protect such vulnerable areas from future changes.

Rewilding meeting flyer

Event Cancelled: Thursday 19th May 12 – 6pm

A Conversation About Food, With Food

Registration is now live!

Location: 258-274 Gray’s Inn Rd, London WC1X 8LH

The Calthorpe Project is a green community garden in the heart of Kings Cross (). The local community members grow organic vegetables and the site is a vibrant community centre. In particular, there is a new initiative, A living lab: A closed-loop waste-energy-food system, is in operation which aims to integrate research, education, community development, enterprise and public policy in one site. There is a growing interest in urban agriculture and in community approaches to urban food security and urban sustainability. The BES and the Calthorpe project invite you to come to visit this newly set up ‘living lab’. Also, led by their talented chefs from the community café, participants will cook an organic meal with some ingredients harvested from the garden. While cooking, urban growers will open up a discussion about the challenges and opportunities associated with urban food sovereignty.

We are delighted to announce that archaobotanist John Letts will be with us talking about heritage flours made from traditional grains and the importance of diversity for resilience to climate change and disease. If the weather is suitable we will be baking Pizza made from his flours in the Calthorpe outdoor pizza oven. Afterwards we will eat! Music provided by local musicians.

Tickets are £20. Book your place – places are limited!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s