Investment Opportunities To Use Science To Make Land Use Sustainable


Deforestation has a major impact on climate change, and illegal logging depresses timber prices. The agricultural and energy cropping which might result can be of benefit to elements of food security, but biodiversity, soil structure and social structures of indigenous communities dependent on forests can be compromised. Soil structure is governed by the biota, especially the microbiome, and is influenced by the carbon input to it from trees and plants. International political instruments, like the UN COP meetings started in 1995 have had limited success in handling this and in part this has been due to a lack of consensus on monitoring, reporting and verification. Earth observation is a necessary analytical tool for both forests and crops, but this can now be combined with artificial intelligence and machine learning as satellite imagery increases resolution at reduced cost. It also needs to be linked to financial instruments for carbon trading and requires investors to generate high-integrity carbon offsets in the long term, and which most return is received by communities to improve their sustainability. This should be a global route to protect biodiversity and can also benefit communities through ecotourism as a payment for ecosystem services. This is a route to satisfy several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, while investors get good returns and communities benefit with improved living standards.


Jim Lynch graduated BTech in Industrial Chemistry from Loughborough University, then PhD and DSc in Microbiology from Kings College London. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Royal Society of Biology, the Royal Geographical Society, the Royal Society of Arts, and is a Chartered Chemist, Scientist and Environmentalist. He has worked at research institutes, universities as visiting professor (Oxford, Reading, Kings College London, Imperial College, Washington State, Oregon State and Helsinki), and companies as non-executive director or advisor. He was Dean of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Surrey, Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission Research Agency, Chairman of the Biology Division of the International Union of Soil Sciences, Coordinator of the OECD Research Programme on Biological Resource Management, and Board Member of the European Forest Institute. He is an Editor of Sustainability and Consultant Editor of Sustainable Microbiology. His research interests cover soils and plants, microbiomes, earth observation and sustainable policies. He has travelled extensively giving over 60 keynote international lectures and published or edited 16 books and 300 papers, the latest book (2023) being What is Life and How Might it be Sustained? Reflections in a Pandemic (CRC Press). He was awarded the UNESCO Prize in Microbiology and Einstein Medal, Distinguished Scientist of the US Department of Agriculture, and the Japanese Government Research Award for Foreign Specialists. He is an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Freeman of the City of London, and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers.