New research at the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute (UCCRI) will investigate the social and environmental performance of a suite of interventions aimed at reversing trends in forest loss. The climate change agreement brokered at COP21 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, and signed by over 200 nations, attests to the interest in global environmental change. Translating these political pledges and policies into forest and landscape management that provides environmental and social benefits poses significant challenges. Crucially, the research team will quantify and describe performance across a typology of forest conservation interventions – from those that aim to conserve via regulation, to those that focus on agricultural intensification and will include interventions that combine these objectives. The research will test the emerging idea that conservation objectives are likely to be met when interventions explicitly recognise the need to link forest protection with efforts to improve farm-based production, so that people’s needs are met alongside a slowdown in deforestation.
The research will be pan-tropical and is firmly interdisciplinary – bringing together expertise across the departments of Geography, Plant Sciences and Zoology, using different scales of analysis and a diverse set of methods.