Natural State and The Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery Announce Groundbreaking Partnership to Advance Nature Recovery in Kenya

Natural State and the Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery

Natural State, a leading organisation in landscape protection, restoration, and rewilding, and The Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery at the University of Oxford, a premier interdisciplinary research centre, are pleased to announce a new partnership aimed at driving landscape scale nature recovery in Kenya. This collaborative effort will leverage cutting-edge research and innovative financing mechanisms to address the urgent need for biodiversity restoration and sustainable development.

This joint initiative involves the recruitment of two co-funded postdoctoral researchers, who will be based at the Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery in Oxford. These researchers will focus on the ecological and financial drivers of nature recovery in Kenya, utilising Natural State’s field research station in the region.

Ecological Research Focus

The ecological research position will be supervised by the Centre’s Director, Professor Yadvinder Malhi. The postdoctoral researcher will concentrate research on identifying the best indicators for degradation and recovery across various biomes, exploring the challenge of defining and measuring ecological degradation and health in ecosystems where disturbance is a key part of ecosystem functioning. There will be an initial emphasis on savanna systems and rangeland ecosystems. This work will provide insights into how severe droughts and land use changes have affected the ecological integrity of the landscape and how restoring nature may impact the resilience of the landscape.

Nature Finance Research Focus

The nature finance research position will be supervised by Dr Nicola Ranger who is Group Leader and Director of the Resilient Planet Finance Lab at the University of Oxford, as well as co-Director of the UKRI Integrating Finance and Biodiversity Programme. This research will address the growing recognition of the interconnectedness between nature, climate, and society. This research will design, analyse, test, and scale various financing mechanisms that deliver positive outcomes for nature, climate, and communities. By collaborating with green finance experts, this research will support the co-design of effective financial structures, building awareness and capability around the value proposition of nature finance. This work aims to close the financing gap for nature-based solutions in Africa, as highlighted by The United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative.

Response from the partners

Dr Jonathan Baillie, President and Chair of the Board, Natural State commented: “We are thrilled to partner with The Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery to advance our mission of large-scale landscape protection and rewilding. This collaboration will not only enhance our understanding of ecosystem recovery, but also develop innovative financial solutions that can drive significant positive change for biodiversity and local communities in Kenya.”

Professor Yadvinder Malhi, Director of The Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery noted: “This partnership with Natural State presents an excellent opportunity to increase our understanding of nature recovery in large scale savanna and rangeland systems that are acutely affected by climate change. By combining our expertise in ecological research with Natural State’s practical experience, and our joint use of innovative technology, we can create impactful, scalable solutions for nature recovery. This is an exciting partnership that I am sure will flourish over time and produce important research while restoring biodiversity.”

Dr Nicola Ranger, Director of the Resilient Planet Finance Lab at The University of Oxford stated: “Financial flows for nature recovery need to nearly triple by 2030 to meet our global biodiversity goals. Our own research at The University of Oxford shows many green shoots of opportunities, but also barriers to yet overcome. I’m excited to work with the fantastic teams at Natural State and the Leverhulme Centre for Nature recovery to find ways to bridge the gap to help protect and restore these beautiful and valuable landscapes across Africa in ways that empower local communities, and build progress towards our collective sustainable development goals”

Future hopes

The outputs from this research collaboration will play a pivotal role in advancing our understanding of ecosystem restoration and in developing sustainable financing mechanisms that benefit both nature and people. This partnership underscores the commitment of both organisations to fostering long-term, sustainable environmental solutions.

For more information about Natural State please visit its website here

The two jobs are currently being advertised and early applications are encouraged: