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PhD: Tensions and synergies between rewilding and farming in the UK, University of Bristol, UK


Advertiser's description (via the University of Bristol)

Conservation and society are intimately linked; conservation cannot work without the support of societies, and societies can’t function without biodiverse ecosystems. Rewilding (the restoration of degraded ecosystems through the reintroduction of missing species) has both grabbed and polarised the public, with research suggesting a suite of potential benefits, including increasing biodiversity and stimulating local economies. Thus, with careful planning of where and how rewilding is carried out, both biodiversity and deprived rural areas stand to benefit. However, to achieve this requires tensions between local stakeholders (e.g. farmers) and conservation proponents (e.g. rewilding charities) to be resolved.

This project consists of two linked PhD scholarships: one in ecology (School of Biological Sciences) and the one detailed here in social sciences/human geography (School of Geographical Sciences). The two PhD’s will run in parallel and feed results into one another, combining ecological habitat suitability modelling and a social survey, along with qualitative research, to identify areas of the UK where, and how, rewilding is both societally supported and ecologically possible. Doing so will:

  • Identify what areas of the UK provide the best initial sites for rewilding
  • Identify the best species to reintroduce to restore missing functions
  • Identify which areas have the greatest potential social and economic impact from rewilding
  • Understand the challenges and opportunities of rewilding, particularly the tensions and trade-offs with agriculture

Read more here. The closing date is 17 March 2023.