We are in a biodiversity crisis. A million species of plants and animals are threatened with global extinction, and wildlife populations across much of the planet have been dramatically reduced, perhaps by as much as a half in recent decades. This is of profound concern because biodiversity underpins human existence.
Biodiversity provides the foundation of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life. Increasing numbers of people, organisations and governments recognise the need to reverse the perilous state of our ecological inheritance. However, while there is unprecedented willingness to act, what we do not know is what will work most effectively to renew biodiversity and ensure continued delivery of its benefits.
We want to reshape understanding and action on biodiversity renewal, creating knowledge at the cutting edge of global debates and policy development. We want to activate enthusiasm for biodiversity renewal that extends beyond traditional conservation and protection practices to include institutions, communities and individuals. We want to challenge disciplinary and sectoral barriers to develop a holistic approach to biodiversity renewal. And we want to reconnect disengaged people with direct experiences of biodiversity in its many forms.
Understanding of, and action on, biodiversity renewal must take a step change. We focus on the agency of people in nature, both as part of the problem and as the solution. We focus on a particular set of challenges:
• How popular support for biodiversity renewal can be harnessed.
• How populations that are disengaged, disadvantaged, or disconnected from nature can benefit from inclusion in solutions development.
• How renewal activities can be designed and delivered by diverse sets of land managers and interest groups.
• And, how biodiversity renewal can most effectively be embedded in finance and business activities.
The Biodiversity and People Network provides a new kind of inclusive and diverse research community. It transcends traditional boundaries between academic disciplines and societal sectors to tackle the environmental crises of the Anthropocene, prioritising partnership building, and addressing the inequalities and lack of diversity found in current practices.
• We bring together academic disciplines and societal sectors to design solutions and deliver actions to renew biodiversity.
• We influence a new generation of researchers and decision-makers to be confident in working creatively across boundaries and at the intersections of disciplines and sectors.
• We inspire new research and biodiversity renewal initiatives by questioning and building upon existing solutions and case studies.
• We provide evidence and guidance to decision-makers from all sectors involved in biodiversity renewal projects.
• We explore creative ways to connect people to share their experience and knowledge to inform the direction of our research and evolving ethos.
Understanding how to renew biodiversity is an intrinsically interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, cross-sectoral undertaking. We welcome others who share our concerns and want to use their skills, knowledge and experiences to reverse this crisis.
We are a hub of academics from the University of Exeter, and individuals from partner organisations, who are interested or involved in biodiversity renewal initiatives in the UK and overseas. Our interests and experiences cover ecology, geography, politics, sociology, english, business, medicine, mathematics and engineering. The network is managed by the University of Exeter but is a truly collaborative endeavour.