Connected Conservation: rethinking conservation for a telecoupled world

My talk will introduce Connected Conservation: a dual-branched conservation model that calls for the conservation community to embrace novel actions to tackle distant wealth-related drivers of biodiversity decline, while enhancing site-level conservation to empower biodiversity stewards. I will give an overview of the diverse literatures that outline the need for this shift in conservation practice and show how centres of tropical biodiversity – a major focus of conservation efforts, tend to be delivered in predominantly site-level interventions, often incorporating alternative-livelihood provision or poverty-alleviation components. Yet, a focus on site-level intervention is ill-equipped to address the disproportionate role of (often distant) wealth in biodiversity collapse. Further site-level approaches often attempt to ‘resolve’ local economic poverty in order to safeguard biodiversity in a seemingly virtuous act, risking overlooking local communities as the living locus of multiple solutions to the biodiversity crisis. Connected Conservation counters this conventional model, and instead works to enhance and amplify those flows and values consonant with nature, and disrupt and diminish the negative flows stemming from centres of wealth that are largely responsible for environmental decline. Examples from the tropical fire context will be used to illustrate the need for Connected Conservation, and your thoughts on how to orchestrate actions in concert across scales to tackle interconnected conservation challenges will be welcome.
Short Biography
Rachel is Tyndall Lecturer in Climate Change and International Development at the University of East Anglia- based in the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and the School of Global Development. She is an interdisciplinary social conservation scientist and draws on a wide range of methods and approaches, with original training in Ecology. Her research is centred on addressing conservation and development challenges through the design and social equity of environmental governance. Her research engages geographies of risk with a particular emphasis on the human dimensions of tropical fire (intentional), wildfire and living in flammability. Until July 2020 Rachel was Frank Jackson Fellow at the University of Cambridge, prior to which she was a post doctoral researcher at the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).