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Sociology Research


Landscape regeneration is essential for addressing biodiversity and climate crises, with an imperative to reverse the decline of ecosystems across the world. However, while there are ambitious global targets in place on nature recovery, the role of people in processes of restoring landscapes is unclear. There have been recent calls to integrate social justice aims and community needs into nature-based solutions, yet there is a need for research on what a more embedded and participatory approach might look like in practice. Key questions remain over how landscape regeneration plans can be designed and delivered by communities living and working in the landscapes.

This project seeks to identify how communities are practising diverse forms of landscape regeneration across the world and to enhance understanding of the nature and scope of community landscape regeneration. Focusing on cases of landscape change in the UK, this research seeks to identify solutions to landscape regeneration that are desirable, effective, affordable and just, and to work toward democratic processes for realising restoration plans. The project forms part of the interdisciplinary research taking place at the Centre for Landscape Regeneration, which aims to preserve and restore key landscapes in the UK using cost-effective nature-based solutions.

Across sites in the Cambridgeshire Fenlands and the Cairngorms national park, the project investigates how nature restoration can be made to work for people and benefit local communities through a collaborative approach. Using participatory workshops, we will co-design fair landscape regeneration solutions with key stakeholders and communities in workshops. This will involve an assessment of the challenges and opportunities posed by land management programmes from communities’ perspectives. We will co-create a community regeneration toolkit for use at the sites, while identifying opportunities for scaling or translating tools and techniques to broader communities working on landscape regeneration in the UK and beyond.

Co-Investigator: Professor Jennifer Gabrys

Postdoctoral Research Associate: Dr David Brown

Research Theme: Science and Technology

Funding: Natural Environment Research Council (NE/W00495X/1)

Project Duration: 01/01/2022 – 01/01/2027

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