Published: 27 July 2018 at 13:00
Dr Nikoleta Jones leads project examining social impacts of conservation strategiesDr Nikoleta Jones, from Anglia Ruskin University’s Global Sustainability Institute, has been awarded a European Research Council (ERC) grant of €1.5million to investigate the social impacts of areas being granted protected status.
“A protected area is the most important policy tool we have in relation to biodiversity conservation, particularly to protect threatened plants and animals.
“From a social perspective, the designation of a protected area often means that certain changes take place within its boundaries as soon as it is established, sometimes leading to opposition or even protests from the local community.
“A typical example is how a protected area can change which land is farmed or how a piece of land is farmed, and this can lead to a loss of income for farmers. But protected areas can also have huge benefits to local communities, such as through increased tourism or through improved quality of life due to a better natural environment.
“My project deals with an issue that is of high priority both across Europe and internationally. It is important to have an in-depth understanding of the socio-ecological factors at work, both to improve the public acceptability of protected areas, through studying impacts, and help meet important biodiversity conservation targets.”