2023-03-01 to 2026-02-28
Approx. 1,4 mil. EUR
Prof. Erik Andersson
Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
IUCN European Regional Office, Brussels, Belgium
Alpine Ecology Laboratory, French National Centre for Scientific Research, Grenoble, France
Ecosystems and Environment Research Program – Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Foundation Georg August University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany
Department of Geography, Environmental Studies & Tourism, University of Western Cape, Bellville, Republic of South Africa
Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, Republic of South Africa
Too often nature conservation fails to connect to and work together with other sectoral policies, people’s interests, land uses and management practices, as well as historical and cultural legacies. This disconnection has led to tensions between conservation, production goals and environmental justice. The project RECONNECT aims to help reduce these tensions and reconnect different values, policies, and ecosystems, and thus support inclusive, cross-sectoral approaches to nature conservation in line with new whole-of-society approach of the new Global Biodiversity Framework.
RECONNECT is an inter- and transdisciplinary research program designed to develop, test, and validate a social-ecological approach for conserving biodiversity in multi-functional, multi-actor landscapes. Different from earlier conservation projects focusing on protected areas and species, we focus on the social-ecological relations between protected areas and larger landscapes and other actors and sectors. We will develop novel tools, methods, and guidance to build policy coherence, and acknowledge plural preferences for navigating trade-offs and conflicts.
1) To develop an interdisciplinary framework for positioning and connecting protected areas to the social-ecological systems they are embedded in; 2) To develop a coherent set of tools and processes for systematically identifying, assessing and testing better options for the interconnections between ecosystems, community values, and diverse institutional arrangements; and 3) To explore governance modes and practices for surfacing and managing tensions and for (re-)connecting people and ecosystems.
We will reposition nature conservation by studying its biophysical, conceptual, and administrative boundaries. Using mixed methods ranging from novel biodiversity modelling and document analyses to mapping exercises and participatory approaches, we will: 1) compare different national protected areas management models; 2) assess various forms of landscape functional connectivity; 3) assess the relation between diverse values of nature and place; 4) develop and evaluate new dialogue formats for managing value conflicts and building coherence among organisations with different practices, interests, and knowledge systems; and 5) synthesise findings and insights across the project to contribute to the methods, approaches, and frameworks available for managing multi-functional landscapes.
The case studies, located in France, Germany, South Africa, and Sweden, each extend across urban to rural gradients with different types of conservation governance of protected areas and surrounding landscapes. The cases are all grounded in a history of transdisciplinary collaboration, which we will draw upon both for our studies and for different knowledge sharing activities. RECONNECT will focus on three knowledge interfaces to ensure its policy, societal and scientific impacts: i) policy guidance, ii) local knowledge alliances for transfer of knowledge and building agency, iii) scientific learning spaces and knowledge sharing. The project will provide helpful insights to support the implementation of the new CBD Global Biodiversity Framework, as well as support to the implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 in the European domain.