Nature recovery is the activity of helping life on Earth to thrive by repairing human relationships with the rest of the natural world.

What is Nature Recovery?

The term Nature Recovery is becoming more prevalent, yet its meaning is ambiguous and can vary from person to person. Experts at the Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery have defined what the term means to us, and outline its key components below.

Nature Recovery is the activity of helping life on Earth to thrive by repairing human relationships with the rest of the natural world.

Nature Recovery is a process

It is about enabling a direction of travel more than it is about reaching an end state. It seeks the protection and enhancement of biodiversity and ecological functions everywhere, in urban and farming landscapes as well as in areas with a lower human footprint.


Nature Recovery is forward-looking

It is not seeking to return nature to some past baseline, which is almost impossible in the context of climate change and global species mixing, but rather it aims to nurture vibrant, rich and biologically resilient ecosystems most able to flourish in the context of current and future challenges.


Nature Recovery works at many scales

It needs to be meaningful and effective at the local scale where people can be most intimately connected to nature, but also consider the challenges at national and planetary levels, whether in governance, economic systems and values, or even in world views.

Nature Recovery recognises that humans are part of nature

It recognises that humans emerged from the living Earth and remain intimately embedded within it and utterly dependent upon it. It challenges the artificial dichotomy between human and natural.


Nature Recovery is relational

It recognises that healthy human relationships with the rest of the natural world are essential for effective and long-term nature recovery. It strives to understand how human societies and natural ecosystems can flourish together, exploring and promoting the various ways in which humans benefit from nature, and how nature can benefit from humans.

The vision of the Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery is:

To understand and support what it takes to deliver effective, inclusive and scalable Nature Recovery.

To enable this we focus on three goals:

  1. Understand the societal, biophysical, policy and systemic factors that enable or challenge Nature Recovery
  2. Collaborate with partners in case study landscapes to test and enhance frameworks, technologies, and tools for effective, inclusive, scalable, delivery of Nature Recovery that also provides for society and its wellbeing
  3. Establish an inclusive nature recovery community at The University of Oxford, leveraging its intellectual capital and interdisciplinary convening power to address key debates and challenges in the field