Getting interdisciplinary at Oxford

ECRs attend the ICN workshop

The green fields of Oxford – workshoppers take a moment in the sun for the group pic.

The green fields of Oxford – workshoppers take a moment in the sun for the group pic.

In June I was very fortunate to be hosted by the Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science (ICCS) at the University of Oxford (led by EJ Milner-Gulland, one of CEED’s international PIs). While there I helped organise and participate in a workshop of the Interdisciplinary Conservation Network (ICN). The workshop gave early-career researchers, such as myself, the opportunity to interact with other conservation scientists and to learn key career skills.

Three research themes were run over the two day event: the application of predictive approaches to conservation; the integration of inter-disciplinary approaches to help manage ‘wicked’ conservation conflicts; and the future for no-net-loss of biodiversity in the marine environment.

It was this last theme that captured my attention. My PhD research focuses primarily on the improved implementation of no-net-loss (NNL) policies aimed at protecting marine biodiversity.

The NNL research theme was developed and organised by Will Arlidge (an Oxford PhD student), Prue Addison (an Oxford Postdoc) and myself. For the weeks leading up to the workshop we had many discussions about the increasing use of biodiversity offsetting and the need to refocus the conversation on the achievement of NNL by using the entire mitigation hierarchy rather than focusing primarily on offsetting.

Given the lack of data in the marine environment, avoidance will be a key component of successful NNL. The workshop brought together people from varied backgrounds to discuss the application of NNL in other industries and what factors could be hindering a broader application of the mitigation hierarchy.

(The mitigation hierarchy requires that all reasonable measures have been taken first to avoid and minimize the impact of a development project and then to restore biodiversity on-site before moving to ‘offsets’.) While only running for three days, the workshop was an amazing chance to get other perspectives on my PhD research, a wonderful opportunity to network with fellow students and researchers working in biodiversity conservation from a range of interdisciplinary fields.

More info: Nicki Shumway

Note: CEED provided funding for Nicki and Angela Guerrero Gonzalez to attend the ICN Workshop.

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