Nature tech and its trustability in land-use decision making tools

IFB Theme Leader, Dr Hannah Rudman of the James Hutton Institute was a speaker at the recent, Can land use decision-making tools be effective? It was a very positive event, with an unexpected novel output.

Hannah spoke about nature tech and its trustability in land-use decision making tools, and about if nature tech could produce decision grade-data for biodiversity uplift measurement, reporting and verification. The other speakers were Dr Leo Peskett (Heriot-Watt University), Lucy Jenner (Head of Natural Capital Scotland at Savills), and Donya Davidson (Natural Capital Manager at NatureScot).

Dr Hannah Rudman speaking


Dr Hannah Rudman speaking at the event


Professor Mathew Williams, Chief Scientific Advisor for Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture in The Scottish Government opened and closed the event, attended by over 70 natural capital sector professionals and academics who regularly meet together as Edinburgh Forests and Landscapes Network (the event organisers).

Reflecting on the event, Hannah said:

"This network is important to the Integrating Finance and Biodiversity programme because it explores difficult emerging questions about land use for natural capital and ecosystem services from both sector and academic perspectives. The discussion was highly engaging - Mathew had to encourage to us to finish up! Unfortunately, running late meant we couldn’t play colleagues our Natural Capital rap. We'd let a Generative AI music programme (Udio beta) listen in on a preparatory meeting, and from analysing the content, it composed a one-minute song called Green on my mind. It’s a fairly predictable effort by the AI, but highlights another topic my team will be looking at as part of IFB. The trustability and transparency of nature tech's software is important to consider. If it’s a Large Vision Model, automatically identifying species, for example, how do we know what images the LVM has been trained on? Are they relevant? What’s the algorithm applied to generate a result? Questions like these need full answers for visual data about nature to be considered robust."

Click here to listen to the song.

For anyone interested, the lyrics are:

We talkin' 'bout those trees, yeah they oxygen we breathe,
Ecosystem millionaires, green on my mind,
Calculation, conversation 'bout that natural design,
It's survival on the line, Mother Earth and her grind, sheesh.

Call it inspiration, do it for the Earth's lungs,
Not about the revenue, it's 'bout the lives we sprung,
Eyes open wide, yeah we searchin' for the catalyst,
Lookin' for solutions, not excuses, we're the activists,
Solid foundation, gotta stand for the truth,
When we fight for our planet, we're protecting our youth,

We got that Natural Capital,
We gotta keep that Capital,
It's Natural.