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Are protected areas the future of conservation?

Environment Themed

What’s on offer?

This event will serve to highlight different issues that are too often ignored in discourse on biodiversity conservation. At the same time it will serve to present on-going research conducted by the recently established Political Ecology & Ecosystem Services research group. To encourage participation ahead of this event we plan to organise a photography competition using the funds on offer to print some of the submissions and display them during the event. The event will start off with a short interactive quizz to encourage participation from the audience. Four invited panel speakers, drawing upon our KCL Geography PhD students, will then each talk for 8 minutes about different aspects of nature conservation and discuss the shortcomings of current protected areas strategies. This will be followed by a 60-minutes panel/wider audience debate on the future of protected areas, and nature conversation more broadly. Alternative governance structures respecting traditions and culture already embedded in local landscapes, support poverty alleviation and livelihood security of local communities will be discussed.

What’s it about?

Nature conservation is crucial to the survival of our planet, and to the health and well-being of society. However, despite the protected areas network on Earth having been increased to around 17% and 8% of the Earth’s land and oceans respectively, nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history. Discussions surrounding the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, although delayed by the pandemic, are well underway. In this context several actors are advocating for the creation of more protected areas (e.g. proposal of 30% by 2030) – yet this development is not uncontested as protected areas also have a number of socio-political implications. Simultaneously, IPBES (the ‘IPCC for biodiversity’) is undertaking an assessment on transformative change. Yet, if protected areas, which are a cornerstone of biodiversity conservation globally, are to contribute to transformative change a more equitable approach to conservation that recognises past spiritual, cultural, and material traditions needs to be achieved. This means recognising further the role of local communities and indigenous people in the governance of protected areas, and the importance of the wider land- and seascapes managed by such communities themselves. Management of protected areas and other area-based conservation measures needs to be more inclusive and equitable to be effective

Who’s leading the event?

Event leader: Dr Maud BORIE , Lecturer in Human Geography, Department of Geography (Chair) and co-convenor of the Political Ecology and Ecosystem Services research group Potential speakers: Laura KOR, PhD student working on socio-ecological approaches for useful plant conservation in Colombia Constance SCHERE, PhD student studying marine protected areas in the Irish Sea Naira DEHMEL, PhD student working on the equitable governance of protected areas Brandon MAK, PhD student working on urban ecology & peregrines falcons in London Terry DAWSON, prof of Global Environmental Change

Open to

Young people and adults interested in biodiversity conservation

Of particular interest to

All adults and young people, of particular relevance to those with an interest in nature conservation and environmental justice