On 10 February 2014, Dr Alan Belward, Head of the IES Land Resource Management Unit, gave the annual Scottish Consortium for Rural Research (SCRR) Peter Wilson lecture to a packed lecture theatre and overspill area at the Royal Society of Edinburgh. The lecture, entitled 'Running out of Land - a new Global Challenge', introduced some of the policies that impact global land-use, especially those linked to Multilateral Environmental Agreements and the European Commission’s post Rio+20 action plan. The talk highlighted the role of Earth-imaging satellites in responding to these policies and described the background to and nature of the Copernicus programme.
Interest in Copernicus and the theme ‘Running out of Land’ was high and feedback was very positive; the 125-seat lecture theatre and 60-seat overspill area were at full capacity and the lecture was followed by an intensive 30-40 minute Q&A session. The questions posed by the audience, a mix of academics and the general public, showed a real concern for global land resource sustainability, especially the challenges of food security, land and soil degradation and deforestation.
The annual Peter Wilson Lecture is jointly organised with the Scottish Consortium for Rural Research (SCRR) and the Society of Biology, Scotland.