Systematic conservation planning

Managing the environment at a landscape level is challenging.
We are still only starting to fully understand how the complex interactions between different natural systems function, and what the effects of human impacts are. In addition, managing our shared resources is as much a social problem as it is an ecological one. Systematic Conservation Planning (SCP) is a decision support tool which combines evidence and analysis with a social process designed to foster the social capital needed for effective and enduring environmental management.

What is systematic conservation planning?

Systematic conservation planning is the biogeographic-economic activity of identifying important areas for natural capital. A suite of software packages can be used to analyse spatial data to identify the areas that would most efficiently deliver targets. A broad range of data can be used, addressing not only ecological aspects but also social and economic considerations, meaning that the most socially acceptable, cost efficient solutions can be found. When paired with an inclusive social dialogue, this provides a structure through which a communal vision can be negotiated, and an evidence informed strategy can be developed. From a combination of the social and analytical processes, a proposed distribution of environmental goods and services can be derived. This proposed distribution can then be communicated back through the same dialogue to moderate it in light of stakeholder needs and local knowledge. This establishes a map of the relative values of land in terms of their ability or potential to produce environmental goods and services. This map of relative value can then be used to guide management strategies. Because the approach is underpinned by a readily repeated analysis, the responses from land managers can be easily incorporated into successive iterations, allowing for priorities to be kept relevant as contexts evolve.

With the release of the 25 Year Environment Plan and the much anticipated upcoming environment bill there is a window of opportunity for a step change in the management of English nature. One of DEFRA's key intentions is to develop natural capital plans to as part of a new Environmental Land Management Scheme. 

 

Working in collaboration with WWF-UK, Biodiversify has produced a report which makes the economic case to public and private decision makers for using systematic conservation planning as the basis for the development of natural capital plans in England. 

Resources

With the release of the 25 Year Environment Plan and the much anticipated upcoming environment bill there is a window of opportunity for a step change in the management of English nature. One of DEFRA's key intentions is to develop natural capital plans to as part of a new Environmental Land Management Scheme. 

 

Working in collaboration with WWF-UK, Biodiversify has produced two reports. One which makes the economic case to public and private decision makers for using systematic conservation planning, and a second which uses stakeholder interviews understand how natural capital planning might build upon existing resources to guide the management of English landscapes. 

Resources

An Economic Case for the Use
of Collaboratively-Developed
Natural Capital Plans
An investigative review of spatial planning in the Cam & Ely Ouse and Broadland Rivers catchment areas

To help communicate this, we have also created two slides which illustrate how SCP could be applied in an English context.

how our team collaborates

Systematic conservation planning is an inherently bespoke process. The entire approach must be tailored to both the context and the needs of stakeholders. As a result, it's a team effort from start to finish. 

Dr Sam Sinclair

Sam leads our SCP team. He focuses on project management and works to ensure that the planning process is designed to mesh effectively within existing systems. He also applies his research to maximise the impact and influence of landscape level plans. 

Dr Cecilia Larrosa

Dr Larrosa, usually know as "Siso", is our technical lead. She designs and codes the tools which allow us to analyse a dizzying array of data to identify landscape priorities. Working at The University of Oxford for many years has placed her at the cutting edge of science, allowing her to integrate a wide range of techniques into our tools. 

Professor Robert Smith

Dr Smith has worked around the world to develop a wide range of plans. He plays an oversight role in our team, using his extensive experience to ensure our plans are well designed and effective. 

Brendan Costelloe

Brendan has worked in UK conservation and land use planning for many years. As the Policy Manage at The British Ecological Society, he has considerable expertise in legislative aspects of the UK context. He applies this knowledge to ensure that our plans integrate as seamlessly as possible with UK policy and legislation. 

Dr Michael Burgass

Mike's expertise lies in indicators, more specifically how we use them, what they actually mean and where their weaknesses lie. He works to make sure that we're using the best data and interpreting our results correctly. 

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