ESPA 2015 Annual Science Conference

25 Nov 2015
Start Date/Time: 09:00, 25 November, 2015
End Date/Time: 17:00, 26 November, 2015
Venue: Large Pension Room, The Honourable Society of Gray's Inn, London
The science of sustainability for people and planet
It has been 15 years since the UN’s Millennium Declaration and the resulting Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It has also been 10 years of progress since the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, which showed that the loss of services from ecosystems is a significant barrier to reducing poverty, hunger and disease, and motivated the development of ESPA.  
This year as the world reflected on the Millennium Development Goals, debated the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and designed a new universal treaty on climate change, ESPA’s 2015 conference reflected on its research to date which is providing new evidence about the links between poverty and the environment and creating real development impact and on the ground solutions.
About ESPA
  • 5 years of research
  • 800 researchers from 52 countries
  • 130 academic outcomes and over a 1000 citations
  • Development impact: Whether it is carbon markets, food security or adapting to climate change, evidence from ESPA research is helping to improve the lives of poor people in developing countries

In many of the world’s poorest countries millions of people are totally reliant on the local environment for their survival and livelihoods.  Making a living from the environment whether it is through farming, forestry or fishing relies on the sustainable use of the goods and services provided by environment, whether that is food, clean water or fuel. Equally important to this is protecting our planets vital natural functions such as climate regulation and protection from flooding and disease. Creating a more sustainable connection between livelihoods and the environment offers our most important way of combating poverty whilst also protecting the planet for future generations.

Why people attended in 2015?
  • They gained a better understanding of ecosystems and how sustainable use of ecosystem services lead to reductions in poverty around the world 
  • Found out about the potential role of ESPA science in the proposed global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will have been debated at the UN’s General Assembly in September
  • Learnt about the latest advances in ESPA research, its methods, results and impact
  • They joined the discussion about future priorities for research, synthesis and impact
Who attended?
  • ESPA researchers
  • Other researchers working on the environment and/or poverty 
  • International non-governmental organisations (NGOs), trusts, foundations, development agencies and research funders
  • Decision makers, policy makers, government departments and agencies and other users of ESPA research 


Watch the conference presentations



You can also visit the conference playlist on our YouTube channel.


Presentations - Wednesday, 25th November

Large Pension Room

Exploring and expanding the prospects of ecosystem services in sustainable development - Belinda Reyers

Impacts of Tanzania's wildlife management areas in household level wealth - Aidan Keane

Success stories in mainstreaming Ecosystem Services into macro-economic policy and land use planning: evidence from Chile, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa and Vietnam - Paulo ALD Nunes

Relative significance of ecosystem services in daily struggles of poor urban people: insights from Dhaka and Dar es Salaam - Manoj Roy

The impacts of land uses change on hydrological ecosystem services: communicating the facts for sustainable land uses - Maafaka Ravelona

Digging down to understand deforestation's impacts on ecosystem services from soil - Alison Cameron

Integrating citizen science and policy support systems into water and land management practices for sustainable mountain development - Bhopal Pandeya

Making ecosystem services count in the SDGs - Fabrice DeClerck

Are income benefits of biofuel production in sub-Saharan Africa offset by their environmental costs? - Caroline Ochieng

Governing the sustainable development goals - a key to their success - Jeff Waage

Bingham Room

Mixed-methods research and ES: Why do we need it?  Where does it take us?  What is missing? - Carlos Alberto Torres Vitolas

Local conceptulizations of wellbeing in relation to ecosytem services along the forest transition curve, with case studies from Colombia, Peru and Malawi - Gisella S Cruz Garcia

Implications of biophysical trajectory for policy decision in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Delta - Munsur Rahman

Ecosystem services and livelihoods in coastal Bangladesh - Robert Nicholls

Impacts of land use and biodiversity changes on the risk of Rift Valley fever and other mosquito-borne diseases: findings from a case study in an arid/semi-arid area in Kenya - Bernard Bett

Linking ecosystem services and poverty through empirical studies of environmental justice: insights from rapidly changing lives and land-use among the forests of northern Lao PDR - Neil Dawson

Charcoal production, ecosystem services and wellbeing in Mozambique: searching for win-win scenarios in Mopane woodland - Pedro Zorrilla Miras

Positive externalities, knowledge exchange and corporate farm extension services; lessons from a case study in Rajasthan - Colm Bowe

Presentations - Thursday, 26th November 2015

ESPA beyond the field: the view 'to' and 'from' national perspectives on the sustainability of development - Giles Atkinson

Planning for use and re-use of valuable data - Rick Stuart

Ecosystem services for poverty alleviation: guiding principles and emerging generalisations for future research - Caroline Howe

Briding agents, boundary objects and dialogues: entry points to heal fragmented peoplescapes - Christo Fabricius

The PES Action Lab: a living laboratory for research into Payments for Environmental Services - Nigel Asquith

Can we build reliable metrics for mapping progress towards SDG targets? - Mark Mulligan

Restoring common lands through enclosures in southern Ethiopia - impacts on livelihoods and distributional inequities - Paula Novo


Discovering the wealth in understanding ecosystems interactions - Henry Busulwa

Enhancing the uptake of research results in conservation decisions in Madagascar - Patrick Rafidimanantsoa

Increasing benefits for local community and national development through application of advanced carbon surveys in humid tropical forest lands - Herintsitohaina Razakamanarivo


If you have any questions regarding the conference, please contact Julie Hands at