Society Research Theme
Encompassing the governance and socio-cultural dimensions of nature recovery.
This theme examines how ‘nature recovery’ is defined and governed at multiple scales across diverse landscapes, how its costs and benefits are distributed, and what lessons this holds for promoting equitable and restorative human-nature relations. The initial focus will be on case study landscapes in the UK and Ghana supporting a range of land uses, including conservation, recreation and the production of food and fibre for commercial and subsistence use.
One research strand examines the political ecology of nature recovery at multiple scales, with a strong emphasis on the design and implementation of participatory approaches to co-creating and managing nature recovery. This includes analysis of existing and proposed public and private policies, laws and standards for public participation in nature restoration and land use decision-making and how they intersect with grassroots and business recovery initiatives and local landowner engagements.
As part of this work, we will explore complementarities and tensions between scientific knowledge, including that generated by this project, and local knowledge of nature and place, and how different knowledge claims are used, accepted or rejected, and by whom. We will also examine how nature recovery efforts shape equality of access to land, nature and finance across diverse social groups.
Our second strand examines different cultural understandings of nature and how these configure the possibilities for nature recovery. We anticipate that successful strategies for nature recovery will require broad cultural support from landowners, farmers, citizens, and their representatives. But we know that these groups often disagree about what nature is and how it ought to be managed. We will investigate how culture and group identity shape different patterns of behaviour that impact nature recovery. We are especially interested what digital media tell us about popular understandings of nature and in the potential of digital technologies to enable new forms of environmental citizenship.