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Department of Geography


The Political Ecology of Landscape Scale Conservation in Britain

Conservation strategies have increasingly emphasised the need for action at the landscape scale. This raises novel challenges in coordinating actions between neighbouring landholders. Landscape scale conservation project often involve public-private partnertships, and are developed in under neoliberalizing governance regimes.

In the UK, a large number of projects have been developed to create large or ‘landscape scale’ conservation areas or zones, often based around existing conservation sites, but involving extensive ecological restoration. Such projects have been developed by a number of organisations, particularly the Wildlife Trusts (‘Living Landscapes’), RSPB (‘Futurescapes’), Butterfly Conservation (‘Landscape Target Areas’) and the National Trust. Government conservation organisations such as Natural England have also developed landscape-scale schemes.

Such approaches were encouraged by the 2010 review of England’s wildlife sites and ecological network (Making Space for Nature). This outlined the need for conservation sites to form a ‘coherent and resilient’ ecological The Government published its response to the Lawton Committee on the same day in June 2011 as the White Paper The Natural Choice: securing the value of nature, endorsing the idea of large scale conservation.

This innovation represents both an increase in the scale and ambition of conservation and also in the way land is secured for conservation management.

Funding from Natural England is supporting research on large scale conservation projects in the UK. It is investigating in particular 1) the kinds of partnerships or other arrangements that have been used to crate them; 2) the way science has been applied to their design; 3) how they have been influenced by thinking about climate change.


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