Innovating social and economic strategies for landscape scale conservation

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Sociology & Social Policy


This project will work with the RSPB to investigate how biodiversity conservation strategies affect social, cultural, and economic objectives.

Safeguarding the global environment while maintaining and improving food security is perhaps the 21st century's greatest challenge. While natural science studies have revealed the landscape-scale conservation strategies with greatest potential for balancing food production and environmental goals, very little is known about the social, cultural, or economic dynamics and impacts of these strategies. E.g. how they might affect communities, how communities might engage with them, or how such approaches could be implemented effectively, equitably and efficiently. The project "Innovating social and economic strategies for landscape scale conservation" will use multiple disciplines to understand how landscape-scale biodiversity conservation strategies affect social, cultural, and economic objectives, and which interventions can best balance competing objectives. The project has been co-designed with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Europe's largest environmental NGO, so that its outputs can directly inform policy.

Specifically, the project will draw on multiple disciplines, including human geography, politics, and environmental economics, to investigate:
1) The probable consequences of landscape-scale conservation for a range of stakeholders
2) Which policy mechanisms are more, or less, likely to achieve effective and equitable landscape-scale conservation in practice, particularly when working across multiple landowners.

In doing so, the project tackles the challenge of combining social and cultural values with environmental data to provide realistic and relevant policy-relevant outputs. By investigating the politics and economics of sustainable land-use strategies, the project will allow the RSPB to develop its understanding of how conservation strategies may affect, and be affected by, social, cultural, and economic concerns. This is crucial if landscape-scale conservation is to move from ecological modelling into conservation and agricultural practice, and from theory to reality.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000746/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
2601785 Studentship ES/P000746/1 01/10/2021 30/09/2025 Luis Sanchez Soto