|Funding for:||UK Students, EU Students, International Students|
|Funding amount:||£17,668 Minimum annual tax-free stipend for 4 years full-time or pro rata for part-time study + Home tuition fees|
|Hours:||Full Time, Part Time|
|Placed On:||22nd March 2023|
|Closes:||3rd May 2023|
Location: Centre for Resilience in Environment, Water and Waste, Geography, University of Exeter, Streatham campus, Exeter
The Gascoyne Estates recognise the opportunity to become thought leaders through the way in which they practice land management within the Hatfield and Cranborne Estates. A number of existing management approaches across agriculture, forestry and habitat enhancement are already converging on a ‘regenerative’ philosophy which seeks to protect and improve both terrestrial and freshwater resources. An obvious next step is to bring these efforts together, in a coherent framework, that applies thinking behind the Natural Capital approach, across whole landscapes, which can demonstrate, quantify and exemplify real and meaningful change in multiple directions.
Underpinning the three pillars of agriculture, forestry and habitat management are a number of key themes which will be researched in this PhD: Soils, Biodiversity, Water (quantity/quality, above/below ground, natural flood management) and Carbon storage/sequestration. The research will value these themes, establishing ‘properties and processes’ (see Figure 1. above), which can be quantified to build baseline understanding of a wide range of parameters that describe the natural capital stocks of the two estates.
Early on in the research program, these stocks will be characterised not only in terms of their quantities, for example, tonnes of carbon stored in soil or woodland biomass per hectare (or CO2 equivalents), but also in terms of their value – both to society and any existing or nascent markets that might (either now or in the future) be used to monetise such stocks. Such work is relatively straightforward for certain parameters (e.g. carbon), and not so for others (e.g. biodiversity indicators such as birds or pollinators), which is all the more reason to adopt a Natural Capital framework which brings all stocks together and supports an honest appraisal of something approaching an holistic ‘value’.
The second stage of the work will be to establish which ‘ecosystem functions’ are of value in each landscape (both to landowners/managers and to wider society/nature). Here we will differentiate between properties (say carbon stocks) by characterising change or growth – for example sequestration of carbon as vegetation grows or soil draws down and enhances carbon stocks.
Thirdly, the PhD research will focus on the ‘ecosystem service’ or most likely ‘multiple services’ that can be delivered by each property and of course via the change in these properties, perhaps due to land use or management change during the project or under future management strategies. Examples might be provision of cleaner drinking water via reduced use of inorganic fertilisers, pesticides or herbicides, or regulation of climate via enhanced carbon storage.
Understanding of environmental science, physical geography and environmental economics, alongside strong statistical and numeracy skills. Experience of field work (for example soil sampling, drone-based habitat mapping), geospatial mapping/modelling or GIS and natural capital assessment are all desirable, though n.b. essential training will be provided.
If English is not your first language you will need to meet the required level (Profile A/B/C) as per our guidance at https://www.exeter.ac.uk/pg-research/apply/english/
To apply, please click on the ‘Apply’ button above
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