Other natural areas such as nature reserves and national parks
have much lower protection and as such many are being slowly degraded
or have been lost altogether. The trend of biodiversity loss is
not a recent phenomenon and certainly not restricted to the UK.
The world's governments have failed to meet the internationally-agreed
target set out in the 2002 Convention on Biological Diversity of
curbing the loss of species and nature by 2010.
The continued trend of species loss strengthens the requirement
for all biodiversity to be assessed for its value, and where necessary
enhanced and protected. Traditionally biodiversity has been packaged
in protective lots such as SSSIs and nature reserves; however the
value of other areas of natural habitats (e.g. gardens) has been
recognised an important source of biodiversity. There are also vast
tracts of land with no protection or official recognition of their
ecological value. Areas under private ownership such as land owned
by the aggregates and waste industries and University campuses are
potential havens for diverse range of flora and fauna.
To successfully manage potentially important habitats present on
the sites under private ownership they must first be identified
and measured effectively and at low cost. To assess these habitats
without the use of ecological specialists requires a tool that can
be used by someone with limited knowledge of the natural environment.
The research will focus on the development and testing of a biodiversity
index. An index will be developed as a tool for the use of primarily
Higher Education Institutions (HEI), then rolled out to other sectors.
The tool will allow non-experts to assess the habitats and species
present on a campus through basic identification parameters. The
results of the assessment will be used to grade the habitat, site
or species in terms of local, regional and global importance and
value. This assessment tool will enable site managers to categorise
natural areas and develop specific management strategies for each
Once developed, the tool will be tested at several HEI's using
people with varying knowledge and skill in assessing the natural
environment. Further testing will be undertaken on other sectors
with large areas of land under their control, such as the aggregate/
mining and waste industries, to establish the applicability of the
tool across these sectors.
I am currently employed a researcher within the Centre
for Sustainable Wastes Management and have been in this role
for 6 years researching different aspects of waste management, specifically
hazardous construction waste, communal recycling and composting
solutions for housing and waste management on the island of Rhodes.
I have studied ecology as an undergraduate and at MSc level and
am interested in the areas of evolutionary theory and landscape