Publications by authors named "Jules Pretty"

44 Publications

A 2021 Horizon Scan of Emerging Global Biological Conservation Issues.

Trends Ecol Evol 2021 01;36(1):87-97

Conservation Science Group, Department of Zoology, Cambridge University, The David Attenborough Building, Pembroke Street, Cambridge CB2 3QZ, UK.

We present the results from our 12th annual horizon scan of issues likely to impact biological conservation in the future. From a list of 97 topics, our global panel of 25 scientists and practitioners identified the top 15 issues that we believe society may urgently need to address. These issues are either novel in the biological conservation sector or represent a substantial positive or negative step-change in impact at global or regional level. Six issues, such as coral reef deoxygenation and changes in polar coastal productivity, affect marine or coastal ecosystems and seven relate to human and ecosystem-level responses to climate change. Identification of potential forthcoming issues for biological conservation may enable increased preparedness by researchers, practitioners, and decision-makers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2020.10.014DOI Listing
January 2021

Nature-Based Interventions and Mind-Body Interventions: Saving Public Health Costs Whilst Increasing Life Satisfaction and Happiness.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020 10 23;17(21). Epub 2020 Oct 23.

School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences, University of Essex, Colchester CO4 3SQ, UK.

A number of countries have begun to adopt prevention pays policies and practices to reduce pressure on health and social care systems. Most affluent countries have seen substantial increases in the incidence and costs of non-communicable diseases. The interest in social models for health has led to the growth in use of social prescribing and psychological therapies. At the same time, there has been growth in application of a variety of nature-based and mind-body interventions (NBIs and MBIs) aimed at improving health and longevity. We assess four NBI/MBI programmes (woodland therapy, therapeutic horticulture, ecotherapy/green care, and tai chi) on life satisfaction/happiness and costs of use of public services. These interventions produce rises in life satisfaction/happiness of 1.00 pts to 7.29 ( = 644; < 0.001) (for courses or participation >50 h). These increases are greater than many positive life events (e.g., marriage or a new child); few countries or cities see +1 pt increases over a decade. The net present economic benefits per person from reduced public service use are £830-£31,520 (after 1 year) and £6450-£11,980 (after 10 years). We conclude that NBIs and MBIs can play a role in helping to reduce the costs on health systems, while increasing the well-being of participants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17217769DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7660642PMC
October 2020

New opportunities for the redesign of agricultural and food systems.

Authors:
Jules Pretty

Agric Human Values 2020 May 18:1-2. Epub 2020 May 18.

School of Life Sciences, University of Essex, Colchester, UK.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10460-020-10056-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7232607PMC
May 2020

Regular Doses of Nature: The Efficacy of Green Exercise Interventions for Mental Wellbeing.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020 02 27;17(5). Epub 2020 Feb 27.

School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ, UK.

This study investigated the efficacy of medium-term Green Exercise (GE; being physically active within a natural environment) interventions for improving wellbeing, by pooling data collected at the start and end of participants' engagement with a range of GE interventions. Hypotheses were that (i) interventions would show good efficacy for improving wellbeing in the overall sample; (ii) compared to participants reporting 'average to high' wellbeing at the start of their project, participants with 'low' starting wellbeing would report greater improvements post-intervention; and (iii) improvements would significantly differ between age groups. The pooled dataset was categorized in line with UK norms ( = 318) and analyzed using a standardized meta-analysis approach. Effect size was large: g = 0.812 (95% CI [0.599, 1.025]), and differences in wellbeing changes associated with project duration, age or sex were not statistically significant. Compared to those reporting 'average-high' starting wellbeing, participants reporting 'low' starting wellbeing exhibited greater improvements (BCa 95% CI [-31.8, -26.5]), with 60.8% moving into the 'average-high' wellbeing category. GE can play an important role in facilitating wellbeing and can provide alternative pathways for health and social care practice. Public health commissioners should consider integrating such interventions for patients experiencing low wellbeing or associated comorbidities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051526DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7084199PMC
February 2020

A Horizon Scan of Emerging Global Biological Conservation Issues for 2020.

Trends Ecol Evol 2020 01 5;35(1):81-90. Epub 2019 Dec 5.

Conservation Science Group, Department of Zoology, Cambridge University, The David Attenborough Building, Pembroke Street, Cambridge CB2 3QZ, UK.

In this horizon scan, we highlight 15 emerging issues of potential relevance to global conservation in 2020. Seven relate to potentially extensive changes in vegetation or ecological systems. These changes are either relatively new, for example, conversion of kelp forests to simpler macroalgal systems, or may occur in the future, for example, as a result of the derivation of nanocelluose from wood or the rapid expansion of small hydropower schemes. Other topics highlight potential changes in national legislation that may have global effect on international agreements. Our panel of 23 scientists and practitioners selected these issues using a modified version of the Delphi technique from a long-list of 89 potential topics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2019.10.010DOI Listing
January 2020

Nature-Based Interventions for Improving Health and Wellbeing: The Purpose, the People and the Outcomes.

Sports (Basel) 2019 Jun 10;7(6). Epub 2019 Jun 10.

Environment & Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Cornwall TR10 9EZ, UK.

Engagement with nature is an important part of many people's lives, and the health and wellbeing benefits of nature-based activities are becoming increasingly recognised across disciplines from city planning to medicine. Despite this, urbanisation, challenges of modern life and environmental degradation are leading to a reduction in both the quantity and the quality of nature experiences. Nature-based health interventions (NBIs) can facilitate behavioural change through a somewhat structured promotion of nature-based experiences and, in doing so, promote improved physical, mental and social health and wellbeing. We conducted a Delphi expert elicitation process with 19 experts from seven countries (all named authors on this paper) to identify the different forms that such interventions take, the potential health outcomes and the target beneficiaries. In total, 27 NBIs were identified, aiming to prevent illness, promote wellbeing and treat specific physical, mental or social health and wellbeing conditions. These interventions were broadly categorized into those that change the environment in which people live, work, learn, recreate or heal (for example, the provision of gardens in hospitals or parks in cities) and those that change behaviour (for example, engaging people through organized programmes or other activities). We also noted the range of factors (such as socioeconomic variation) that will inevitably influence the extent to which these interventions succeed. We conclude with a call for research to identify the drivers influencing the effectiveness of NBIs in enhancing health and wellbeing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/sports7060141DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6628071PMC
June 2019

Ten Years On: A Review of the First Global Conservation Horizon Scan.

Trends Ecol Evol 2019 02 2;34(2):139-153. Epub 2019 Jan 2.

Conservation Science Group, Department of Zoology, Cambridge University, The David Attenborough Building, Pembroke Street, Cambridge CB2 3QZ, UK.

Our first horizon scan, conducted in 2009, aimed to identify novel but poorly known issues with potentially significant effects on global conservation of biological diversity. Following completion of the tenth annual scan, we reviewed the 15 topics identified a decade ago and assessed their development in the scientific literature and news media. Five topics, including microplastic pollution, synthetic meat, and environmental applications of mobile-sensing technology, appeared to have had widespread salience and effects. The effects of six topics were moderate, three have not emerged, and the effects of one topic were low. The awareness of, and involvement in, these issues by 12 conservation organisations has increased for most issues since 2009.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2018.12.003DOI Listing
February 2019

A Horizon Scan of Emerging Issues for Global Conservation in 2019.

Trends Ecol Evol 2019 01 13;34(1):83-94. Epub 2018 Dec 13.

Conservation Science Group, Department of Zoology, Cambridge University, The David Attenborough Building, Pembroke Street, Cambridge, CB2 3QZ, UK.

We present the results of our tenth annual horizon scan. We identified 15 emerging priority topics that may have major positive or negative effects on the future conservation of global biodiversity, but currently have low awareness within the conservation community. We hope to increase research and policy attention on these areas, improving the capacity of the community to mitigate impacts of potentially negative issues, and maximise the benefits of issues that provide opportunities. Topics include advances in crop breeding, which may affect insects and land use; manipulations of natural water flows and weather systems on the Tibetan Plateau; release of carbon and mercury from melting polar ice and thawing permafrost; new funding schemes and regulations; and land-use changes across Indo-Malaysia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2018.11.001DOI Listing
January 2019

Intensification for redesigned and sustainable agricultural systems.

Authors:
Jules Pretty

Science 2018 11;362(6417)

School of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Essex, UK.

Redesign of agricultural systems is essential to deliver optimum outcomes as ecological and economic conditions change. The combination of agricultural processes in which production is maintained or increased, while environmental outcomes are enhanced, is currently known as sustainable intensification (SI). SI aims to avoid the cultivation of more land, and thus avoid the loss of unfarmed habitats, but also aims to increase overall system performance without net environmental cost. For example, large changes are now beginning to occur to maximize biodiversity by means of integrated pest management, pasture and forage management, the incorporation of trees into agriculture, and irrigation management, and with small and patch systems. SI is central to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations and to wider efforts to improve global food and nutritional security.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aav0294DOI Listing
November 2018

A 2018 Horizon Scan of Emerging Issues for Global Conservation and Biological Diversity.

Trends Ecol Evol 2018 01 4;33(1):47-58. Epub 2017 Dec 4.

Conservation Science Group, Department of Zoology, Cambridge University, The David Attenborough Building, Pembroke Street, Cambridge, CB2 3QZ, UK.

This is our ninth annual horizon scan to identify emerging issues that we believe could affect global biological diversity, natural capital and ecosystem services, and conservation efforts. Our diverse and international team, with expertise in horizon scanning, science communication, as well as conservation science, practice, and policy, reviewed 117 potential issues. We identified the 15 that may have the greatest positive or negative effects but are not yet well recognised by the global conservation community. Themes among these topics include new mechanisms driving the emergence and geographic expansion of diseases, innovative biotechnologies, reassessments of global change, and the development of strategic infrastructure to facilitate global economic priorities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2017.11.006DOI Listing
January 2018

Green Mind Theory: How Brain-Body-Behaviour Links into Natural and Social Environments for Healthy Habits.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2017 06 30;14(7). Epub 2017 Jun 30.

School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences, University of Essex, Colchester CO4 3SQ, UK.

We propose a Green Mind Theory (GMT) to link the human mind with the brain and body, and connect the body into natural and social environments. The processes are reciprocal: environments shape bodies, brains, and minds; minds change body behaviours that shape the external environment. GMT offers routes to improved individual well-being whilst building towards greener economies. It builds upon research on green exercise and nature-based therapies, and draws on understanding derived from neuroscience and brain plasticity, spiritual and wisdom traditions, the lifeways of original cultures, and material consumption behaviours. We set out a simple metaphor for brain function: a bottom brain stem that is fast-acting, involuntary, impulsive, and the driver of fight and flight behaviours; a top brain cortex that is slower, voluntary, the centre for learning, and the driver of rest and digest. The bottom brain reacts before thought and directs the sympathetic nervous system. The top brain is calming, directing the parasympathetic nervous system. Here, we call the top brain blue and the bottom brain red; too much red brain is bad for health. In modern high-consumption economies, life has often come to be lived on red alert. An over-active red mode impacts the gastrointestinal, immune, cardiovascular, and endocrine systems. We develop our knowledge of nature-based interventions, and suggest a framework for the blue brain-red brain-green mind. We show how activities involving immersive-attention quieten internal chatter, how habits affect behaviours across the lifecourse, how long habits take to be formed and hard-wired into daily practice, the role of place making, and finally how green minds could foster prosocial and greener economies. We conclude with observations on twelve research priorities and health interventions, and ten calls to action.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14070706DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5551144PMC
June 2017

A 2017 Horizon Scan of Emerging Issues for Global Conservation and Biological Diversity.

Trends Ecol Evol 2017 01 10;32(1):31-40. Epub 2016 Dec 10.

Conservation Science Group, Department of Zoology, Cambridge University, The David Attenborough Building, Pembroke Street, Cambridge, CB2 3QZ, UK.

We present the results of our eighth annual horizon scan of emerging issues likely to affect global biological diversity, the environment, and conservation efforts in the future. The potential effects of these novel issues might not yet be fully recognized or understood by the global conservation community, and the issues can be regarded as both opportunities and risks. A diverse international team with collective expertise in horizon scanning, science communication, and conservation research, practice, and policy reviewed 100 potential issues and identified 15 that qualified as emerging, with potential substantial global effects. These issues include new developments in energy storage and fuel production, sand extraction, potential solutions to combat coral bleaching and invasive marine species, and blockchain technology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2016.11.005DOI Listing
January 2017

A case-control study of the health and well-being benefits of allotment gardening.

J Public Health (Oxf) 2016 09 29;38(3):e336-e344. Epub 2015 Oct 29.

Centre for Sports and Exercise Science, School of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO43SQ, UK.

Background: Allotments in the UK are popular and waiting lists long. There is, however, little evidence on the health benefits of allotment gardening. The aims of this study were to determine the impacts of a session of allotment gardening on self-esteem and mood and to compare the mental well-being of allotment gardeners with non-gardeners.

Methods: Self-esteem, mood and general health were measured in 136 allotment gardeners pre- and post- an allotment session, and 133 non-gardener controls. Allotment gardeners also detailed the time spent on their allotment in the current session and previous 7 days, and their length of tenure.

Results: Paired t-tests revealed a significant improvement in self-esteem (P < 0.05) and mood (P < 0.001) as a result of one allotment session. Linear regression revealed that neither the time spent on the allotment in the current session, the previous 7 days or the length of tenure affected the impacts on self-esteem and mood (P > 0.05). One-way ANCOVA revealed that allotment gardeners had a significantly better self-esteem, total mood disturbance and general health (P < 0.001), experiencing less depression and fatigue and more vigour (P < 0.0083).

Conclusions: Allotment gardening can play a key role in promoting mental well-being and could be used as a preventive health measure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/pubmed/fdv146DOI Listing
September 2016

A Horizon Scan of Global Conservation Issues for 2016.

Trends Ecol Evol 2016 Jan 11;31(1):44-53. Epub 2015 Dec 11.

Natural Environment Research Council, Polaris House, North Star Avenue, Swindon, SN2 1EU, UK.

This paper presents the results of our seventh annual horizon scan, in which we aimed to identify issues that could have substantial effects on global biological diversity in the future, but are not currently widely well known or understood within the conservation community. Fifteen issues were identified by a team that included researchers, practitioners, professional horizon scanners, and journalists. The topics include use of managed bees as transporters of biological control agents, artificial superintelligence, electric pulse trawling, testosterone in the aquatic environment, building artificial oceanic islands, and the incorporation of ecological civilization principles into government policies in China.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2015.11.007DOI Listing
January 2016

Integrated Pest Management for Sustainable Intensification of Agriculture in Asia and Africa.

Insects 2015 Mar 5;6(1):152-82. Epub 2015 Mar 5.

Department of Sociology and Essex Sustainability Institute, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester CO4 3SQ, UK.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a leading complement and alternative to synthetic pesticides and a form of sustainable intensification with particular importance for tropical smallholders. Global pesticide use has grown over the past 20 years to 3.5 billion kg/year, amounting to a global market worth $45 billion. The external costs of pesticides are $4-$19 (€3-15) per kg of active ingredient applied, suggesting that IPM approaches that result in lower pesticide use will benefit, not only farmers, but also wider environments and human health. Evidence for IPM's impacts on pesticide use and yields remains patchy. We contribute an evaluation using data from 85 IPM projects from 24 countries of Asia and Africa implemented over the past twenty years. Analysing outcomes on productivity and reliance on pesticides, we find a mean yield increase across projects and crops of 40.9% (SD 72.3), combined with a decline in pesticide use to 30.7% (SD 34.9) compared with baseline. A total of 35 of 115 (30%) crop combinations resulted in a transition to zero pesticide use. We assess successes in four types of IPM projects, and find that at least 50% of pesticide use is not needed in most agroecosystems. Nonetheless, policy support for IPM is relatively rare, counter-interventions from pesticide industry common, and the IPM challenge never done as pests, diseases and weeds evolve and move.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/insects6010152DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4553536PMC
March 2015

Significance and value of non-traded ecosystem services on farmland.

PeerJ 2015 17;3:e762. Epub 2015 Feb 17.

Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington State University , Pullman, WA , USA.

Background. Ecosystem services (ES) generated within agricultural landscapes, including field boundaries, are vital for the sustainable supply of food and fibre. However, the value of ES in agriculture has not been quantified experimentally and then extrapolated globally. Methods. We quantified the economic value of two key but contrasting ES (biological control of pests and nitrogen mineralisation) provided by non-traded non-crop species in ten organic and ten conventional arable fields in New Zealand using field experiments. The arable crops grown, same for each organic and conventional pair, were peas (Pisum sativum), beans (Phaseolus vulgaris), barley (Hordeum vulgare), and wheat (Triticum aestivum). Organic systems were chosen as comparators not because they are the only forms of sustainable agriculture, but because they are subject to easily understood standards. Results. We found that organic farming systems depended on fewer external inputs and produced outputs of energy and crop dry matter generally less than but sometimes similar to those of their conventional counterparts. The economic values of the two selected ES were greater for the organic systems in all four crops, ranging from US$ 68-200 ha(-1) yr(-1) for biological control of pests and from US$ 110-425 ha(-1)yr(-1) for N mineralisation in the organic systems versus US$ 0 ha(-1)yr(-1) for biological control of pests and from US$ 60-244 ha(-1)yr(-1) for N mineralisation in the conventional systems. The total economic value (including market and non-market components) was significantly greater in organic systems, ranging from US$ 1750-4536 ha(-1)yr(-1), with US$ 1585-2560 ha(-1)yr(-1) in the conventional systems. The non-market component of the economic value in organic fields was also significantly higher than those in conventional fields. Discussion. To illustrate the potential magnitude of these two ES to temperate farming systems and agricultural landscapes elsewhere, we then extrapolate these experimentally derived figures to the global temperate cropping area of the same arable crops. We found that the extrapolated net value of the these two services provided by non-traded species could exceed the combined current global costs of pesticide and fertiliser inputs, even if utilised on only 10% of the global arable area. This approach strengthens the case for ES-rich agricultural systems, provided by non-traded species to global agriculture.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.762DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4338771PMC
March 2015

Improving health and well-being independently of GDP: dividends of greener and prosocial economies.

Int J Environ Health Res 2016 11;26(1):11-36. Epub 2015 Feb 11.

d European Centre for Environment and Human Health , University of Exeter Medical School , Exeter , UK.

Increases in gross domestic product (GDP) beyond a threshold of basic needs do not lead to further increases in well-being. An explanation is that material consumption (MC) also results in negative health externalities. We assess how these externalities influence six factors critical for well-being: (i) healthy food; (ii) active body; (iii) healthy mind; (iv) community links; (v) contact with nature; and (vi) attachment to possessions. If environmentally sustainable consumption (ESC) were increasingly substituted for MC, thus improving well-being and stocks of natural and social capital, and sustainable behaviours involving non-material consumption (SBs-NMC) became more prevalent, then well-being would increase regardless of levels of GDP. In the UK, the individualised annual health costs of negative consumption externalities (NCEs) currently amount to £62 billion for the National Health Service, and £184 billion for the economy (for mental ill-health, dementia, obesity, physical inactivity, diabetes, loneliness and cardiovascular disease). A dividend is available if substitution by ESC and SBs-NMC could limit the prevalence of these conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09603123.2015.1007841DOI Listing
October 2016

A horizon scan of global conservation issues for 2015.

Trends Ecol Evol 2015 Jan 27;30(1):17-24. Epub 2014 Nov 27.

Quantitative & Applied Ecology Group, National Environmental Research Program Environmental Decisions Hub, School of Botany, University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia.

This paper presents the results of our sixth annual horizon scan, which aims to identify phenomena that may have substantial effects on the global environment, but are not widely known or well understood. A group of professional horizon scanners, researchers, practitioners, and a journalist identified 15 topics via an iterative, Delphi-like process. The topics include a novel class of insecticide compounds, legalisation of recreational drugs, and the emergence of a new ecosystem associated with ice retreat in the Antarctic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2014.11.002DOI Listing
January 2015

Sustainable intensification in agricultural systems.

Ann Bot 2014 Dec 28;114(8):1571-96. Epub 2014 Oct 28.

University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester CO4 3SQ, UK.

Background: Agricultural systems are amended ecosystems with a variety of properties. Modern agroecosystems have tended towards high through-flow systems, with energy supplied by fossil fuels directed out of the system (either deliberately for harvests or accidentally through side effects). In the coming decades, resource constraints over water, soil, biodiversity and land will affect agricultural systems. Sustainable agroecosystems are those tending to have a positive impact on natural, social and human capital, while unsustainable systems feed back to deplete these assets, leaving fewer for the future. Sustainable intensification (SI) is defined as a process or system where agricultural yields are increased without adverse environmental impact and without the conversion of additional non-agricultural land. The concept does not articulate or privilege any particular vision or method of agricultural production. Rather, it emphasizes ends rather than means, and does not pre-determine technologies, species mix or particular design components. The combination of the terms 'sustainable' and 'intensification' is an attempt to indicate that desirable outcomes around both more food and improved environmental goods and services could be achieved by a variety of means. Nonetheless, it remains controversial to some.

Scope And Conclusions: This review analyses recent evidence of the impacts of SI in both developing and industrialized countries, and demonstrates that both yield and natural capital dividends can occur. The review begins with analysis of the emergence of combined agricultural-environmental systems, the environmental and social outcomes of recent agricultural revolutions, and analyses the challenges for food production this century as populations grow and consumption patterns change. Emergent criticisms are highlighted, and the positive impacts of SI on food outputs and renewable capital assets detailed. It concludes with observations on policies and incentives necessary for the wider adoption of SI, and indicates how SI could both promote transitions towards greener economies as well as benefit from progress in other sectors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcu205DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4649696PMC
December 2014

The effect of playground- and nature-based playtime interventions on physical activity and self-esteem in UK school children.

Int J Environ Health Res 2015 12;25(2):196-206. Epub 2014 May 12.

a School of Biological Sciences , University of Essex , Colchester , UK.

School playtime provides opportunities for children to engage in physical activity (PA). Playground playtime interventions designed to increase PA have produced differing results. However, nature can also promote PA, through the provision of large open spaces for activity. The purpose of this study is to determine which playtime interventions are most effective at increasing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and if this varies by school location. Fifty-two children from an urban and rural school participated in a playground sports (PS) and nature-based orienteering intervention during playtime for one week. MVPA was assessed the day before and on the final day of the interventions using accelerometers. Intervention type (p < 0.05) and school location (p < 0.001) significantly influenced MVPA; with PS increasing MVPA more than nature-based orienteering. Urban children seemed to respond to the interventions more positively; however, differences in baseline MVPA might influence these changes. There was a positive correlation for fitness and MVPA during PS (r = 0.32; p < 0.05), but not nature-based orienteering (p > 0.05). The provision of PS influences PA the most; however, a variety of interventions are required to engage less fit children in PA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09603123.2014.915020DOI Listing
November 2015

Walks4Work: assessing the role of the natural environment in a workplace physical activity intervention.

Scand J Work Environ Health 2014 Jul 13;40(4):390-9. Epub 2014 Mar 13.

Daniel Brown, School of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ.

Objectives: The primary aim of this study was to examine the impact of physical activity (PA) in the natural environment (eg, "green exercise") on resting autonomic function in the Walks4Work intervention. A secondary aim was to assess the feasibility of Walks4Work in terms of adherence, change in PA levels, and cardiovascular health parameters.

Methods: In an 8-week randomized control trial, 94 office workers in an international company were allocated to one of three groups: control, nature (NW), or built (BW) lunchtime walking route. Both walking groups were required to undertake two lunchtime walks each week. The NW route centered around trees, maintained grass, and public footpaths. In contrast, the BW consisted of pavement routes through housing estates and industrial areas. Data were collected at baseline and following the intervention. To investigate the impact of the intervention, mixed-design analysis of variance (ANOVA) were performed.

Results: A total of 73 participants completed the intervention (drop-out rate of 22%). No difference was observed in resting autonomic function between the groups. Self-reported mental health improved for the NW group only. PA levels increased at the intervention mid-point for all groups combined but adherence to the intervention was low with rates of 42% and 43% within the BW and NW groups, respectively.

Conclusion: Accompanying a guideline of two active lunchtimes per week with low facilitator input appears inadequate for increasing the number of active lunchtimes and modifying cardiovascular health parameters in an office population. However, this population fell within normal ranges for cardiovascular measures and future research should consider investigating at-risk populations, particularly hypertensive individuals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5271/sjweh.3421DOI Listing
July 2014

A horizon scan of global conservation issues for 2014.

Trends Ecol Evol 2014 Jan 11;29(1):15-22. Epub 2013 Dec 11.

School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK.

This paper presents the output of our fifth annual horizon-scanning exercise, which aims to identify topics that increasingly may affect conservation of biological diversity, but have yet to be widely considered. A team of professional horizon scanners, researchers, practitioners, and a journalist identified 15 topics which were identified via an iterative, Delphi-like process. The 15 topics include a carbon market induced financial crash, rapid geographic expansion of macroalgal cultivation, genetic control of invasive species, probiotic therapy for amphibians, and an emerging snake fungal disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2013.11.004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3884124PMC
January 2014

A repeated measures experiment of green exercise to improve self-esteem in UK school children.

PLoS One 2013 24;8(7):e69176. Epub 2013 Jul 24.

School of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Colchester, Essex, United Kingdom.

Exercising in natural, green environments creates greater improvements in adult's self-esteem than exercise undertaken in urban or indoor settings. No comparable data are available for children. The aim of this study was to determine whether so called 'green exercise' affected changes in self-esteem; enjoyment and perceived exertion in children differently to urban exercise. We assessed cardiorespiratory fitness (20 m shuttle-run) and self-reported physical activity (PAQ-A) in 11 and 12 year olds (n = 75). Each pupil completed two 1.5 mile timed runs, one in an urban and another in a rural environment. Trials were completed one week apart during scheduled physical education lessons allocated using a repeated measures design. Self-esteem was measured before and after each trial, ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) and enjoyment were assessed after completing each trial. We found a significant main effect (F (1,74), = 12.2, p<0.001), for the increase in self-esteem following exercise but there was no condition by exercise interaction (F (1,74), = 0.13, p = 0.72). There were no significant differences in perceived exertion or enjoyment between conditions. There was a negative correlation (r = -0.26, p = 0.04) between habitual physical activity and RPE during the control condition, which was not evident in the green exercise condition (r = -0.07, p = 0.55). Contrary to previous studies in adults, green exercise did not produce significantly greater increases in self-esteem than the urban exercise condition. Green exercise was enjoyed more equally by children with differing levels of habitual physical activity and has the potential to engage less active children in exercise.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0069176PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3722246PMC
February 2014

A randomised control trial of physical activity in a perceived environment on self-esteem and mood in UK adolescents.

Int J Environ Health Res 2013 18;23(4):311-20. Epub 2012 Oct 18.

School of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester CO4 3SQ, UK.

This study assessed whether exercising whilst viewing natural or built scenes affected self-esteem (SE) and mood in adolescents. Twenty-five adolescents participated in three exercise tests on consecutive days. A graded exercise test established the work rate equivalent to 50% heart rate reserve for use in subsequent constant load tests (CLTs). Participants undertook two 15-min CLTs in random order viewing scenes of either natural or built environments. Participants completed Rosenberg's SE scale and the adolescent profile of mood states questionnaire pre- and post-exercise. There was a significant main effect for SE (F(1) = 6.10; P < 0.05) and mood (F(6) = 5.29; P < 0.001) due to exercise, but no effect of viewing different environmental scenes (P > 0.05). Short bouts of moderate physical activity can have a positive impact on SE and mood in adolescents. Future research should incorporate field studies to examine the psychological effects of contact with real environments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09603123.2012.733935DOI Listing
March 2014

Walks4work: rationale and study design to investigate walking at lunchtime in the workplace setting.

BMC Public Health 2012 Jul 25;12:550. Epub 2012 Jul 25.

School of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ, UK.

Background: Following recruitment of a private sector company, an 8 week lunchtime walking intervention was implemented to examine the effect of the intervention on modifiable cardiovascular disease risk factors, and further to see if walking environment had any further effect on the cardiovascular disease risk factors.

Methods: For phase 1 of the study participants were divided into three groups, two lunchtime walking intervention groups to walk around either an urban or natural environment twice a week during their lunch break over an 8 week period. The third group was a waiting-list control who would be invited to join the walking groups after phase 1. In phase 2 all participants were encouraged to walk during their lunch break on self-selecting routes. Health checks were completed at baseline, end of phase 1 and end of phase 2 in order to measure the impact of the intervention on cardiovascular disease risk. The primary outcome variables of heart rate and heart rate variability were measured to assess autonomic function associated with cardiovascular disease. Secondary outcome variables (Body mass index, blood pressure, fitness, autonomic response to a stressor) related to cardiovascular disease were also measured. The efficacy of the intervention in increasing physical activity was objectively monitored throughout the 8-weeks using an accelerometer device.

Discussion: The results of this study will help in developing interventions with low researcher input with high participant output that may be implemented in the workplace. If effective, this study will highlight the contribution that natural environments can make in the reduction of modifiable cardiovascular disease risk factors within the workplace.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-12-550DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3490792PMC
July 2012

Exercise-, nature- and socially interactive-based initiatives improve mood and self-esteem in the clinical population.

Perspect Public Health 2012 Mar;132(2):89-96

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ, UK.

Aims: This study evaluated two existing group-based health promotion initiatives (a social club and a swimming group) and compared these to a new green exercise programme (weekly countryside and urban park walks).

Methods: Participants represented a clinical population (N = 53) and were all experiencing a range of mental health problems. They only attended one of the three programmes and sessions were held once a week for six weeks in all initiatives. Composite questionnaires incorporating two standardized measures to analyse changes in self-esteem and mood were completed before and after all sessions.

Results: A significant main effect for self-esteem and mood pre and post activity (p < 0.001) was reported after participating in a single session. The change in self-esteem was significantly greater in the green exercise group compared with the social activities club (p < 0.001). Dose responses showed that both self-esteem and mood levels improved over the six-week period and improvements were related to attendance in the green exercise group.

Conclusions: Green exercise as a health-promoting initiative for people experiencing mental ill health is equally as effective as existing programmes. Combining exercise, nature and social components in future initiatives may play a key role in managing and supporting recovery from mental ill health, suggesting a potential 'green' approach to mental healthcare and promotion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1757913910393862DOI Listing
March 2012

Biological sources and sinks of nitrous oxide and strategies to mitigate emissions.

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 2012 May;367(1593):1157-68

School of Biological Sciences, Norwich Research Park, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.

Nitrous oxide (N(2)O) is a powerful atmospheric greenhouse gas and cause of ozone layer depletion. Global emissions continue to rise. More than two-thirds of these emissions arise from bacterial and fungal denitrification and nitrification processes in soils, largely as a result of the application of nitrogenous fertilizers. This article summarizes the outcomes of an interdisciplinary meeting, 'Nitrous oxide (N(2)O) the forgotten greenhouse gas', held at the Kavli Royal Society International Centre, from 23 to 24 May 2011. It provides an introduction and background to the nature of the problem, and summarizes the conclusions reached regarding the biological sources and sinks of N(2)O in oceans, soils and wastewaters, and discusses the genetic regulation and molecular details of the enzymes responsible. Techniques for providing global and local N(2)O budgets are discussed. The findings of the meeting are drawn together in a review of strategies for mitigating N(2)O emissions, under three headings, namely: (i) managing soil chemistry and microbiology, (ii) engineering crop plants to fix nitrogen, and (iii) sustainable agricultural intensification.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2011.0415DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3306631PMC
May 2012

Horizon scan of global conservation issues for 2011.

Trends Ecol Evol 2011 Jan 2;26(1):10-6. Epub 2010 Dec 2.

Conservation Science Group, Department of Zoology, Cambridge University, Downing Street, Cambridge CB23EJ, UK.

This review describes outcomes of a 2010 horizon-scanning exercise building upon the first exercise conducted in 2009. The aim of both horizon scans was to identify emerging issues that could have substantial impacts on the conservation of biological diversity, and to do so sufficiently early to encourage policy-relevant, practical research on those issues. Our group included professional horizon scanners and researchers affiliated with universities and non- and inter-governmental organizations, including specialists on topics such as invasive species, wildlife diseases and coral reefs. We identified 15 nascent issues, including new greenhouse gases, genetic techniques to eradicate mosquitoes, milk consumption in Asia and societal pessimism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2010.11.002DOI Listing
January 2011

The roles and values of wild foods in agricultural systems.

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 2010 Sep;365(1554):2913-26

Interdisciplinary Centre for Environment and Society and Department of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Colchester, Essex, UK.

Almost every ecosystem has been amended so that plants and animals can be used as food, fibre, fodder, medicines, traps and weapons. Historically, wild plants and animals were sole dietary components for hunter-gatherer and forager cultures. Today, they remain key to many agricultural communities. The mean use of wild foods by agricultural and forager communities in 22 countries of Asia and Africa (36 studies) is 90-100 species per location. Aggregate country estimates can reach 300-800 species (e.g. India, Ethiopia, Kenya). The mean use of wild species is 120 per community for indigenous communities in both industrialized and developing countries. Many of these wild foods are actively managed, suggesting there is a false dichotomy around ideas of the agricultural and the wild: hunter-gatherers and foragers farm and manage their environments, and cultivators use many wild plants and animals. Yet, provision of and access to these sources of food may be declining as natural habitats come under increasing pressure from development, conservation-exclusions and agricultural expansion. Despite their value, wild foods are excluded from official statistics on economic values of natural resources. It is clear that wild plants and animals continue to form a significant proportion of the global food basket, and while a variety of social and ecological drivers are acting to reduce wild food use, their importance may be set to grow as pressures on agricultural productivity increase.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2010.0123DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2935111PMC
September 2010

The future of the global food system.

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 2010 Sep;365(1554):2769-77

Department of Zoology and Institute of Biodiversity at the James Martin 21st Century School, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS, UK.

Although food prices in major world markets are at or near a historical low, there is increasing concern about food security-the ability of the world to provide healthy and environmentally sustainable diets for all its peoples. This article is an introduction to a collection of reviews whose authors were asked to explore the major drivers affecting the food system between now and 2050. A first set of papers explores the main factors affecting the demand for food (population growth, changes in consumption patterns, the effects on the food system of urbanization and the importance of understanding income distributions) with a second examining trends in future food supply (crops, livestock, fisheries and aquaculture, and 'wild food'). A third set explores exogenous factors affecting the food system (climate change, competition for water, energy and land, and how agriculture depends on and provides ecosystem services), while the final set explores cross-cutting themes (food system economics, food wastage and links with health). Two of the clearest conclusions that emerge from the collected papers are that major advances in sustainable food production and availability can be achieved with the concerted application of current technologies (given sufficient political will), and the importance of investing in research sooner rather than later to enable the food system to cope with both known and unknown challenges in the coming decades.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2010.0180DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2935131PMC
September 2010