The North Devon Biosphere is very active.....
......with lots of new projects delivering or starting, as Andy Bell, the Biosphere Coordinator and Chief Executive of the North Devon Biosphere Foundation, told Coastwise members.
Andy explained that the purpose of the 714 Biospheres round the world is to promote innovative approaches to economic development that are socially and culturally appropriate, and are sustainable. The basis of all activities is the recognition that there is a large amount of what is termed Natural Capital in our region, and that there is a need to conserve and encourage it, and at the same time help people to understand and appreciate our environment.
Recent major projects have included the Marine Pioneer, which targeted fisheries and marine activity, and looked at innovative finance models, and SWEEP, an academic approach to valuation and use of natural capital resources.
On a more practical level, there's been shore sand management at Instow, and flood management acitivity in the Taw/Torridge Estuary.
At the moment, the Critter project addresses the creation of new saltmarsh and grazing, and an experimental seagrass site.
The Smart Biosphere project aimes to automate much of the data gathering needed to make informed choices for new projects. Sensors will gather data, which will be used to allow machine learning in a way that delivers accurate and focussed data to decision-makers.
The big new venture for the NDBF and its implementation community interest comapny is the set of projects enabled by the Community Renewal Fund, which has made a grant of £1.5M for a range of activities including sustaiable aquaculture, estuarine bioremediation, offshore renewable energy, the Smart Biosphere activity and natural flood and runoff management.
Much of this supports the Marine Nature Recovery Plan, which is in the process of development, and which will focus not only on the human benefits of the environment, but also the animals and organisms which live in it.
The Biosphere has been active for nearly two decades now, but tall these activities signal a major new phase of its existence.
The YouTube video of Andy's talk will be available here shortly.....