Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) Economics (NECR415)

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This think piece has been developed by eftec in association with Prof Nick Hanley to inform Natural England’s future management of protected areas (PAs). It aims to address the question:

If we were arranging for the protection and conservation of important habitats, species and geological features in 2021 from scratch, what should we create in the face of environmental change?

This headline question is expanded into three sub-questions:

1. What is required to protect biodiversity and geodiversity across the landscape in the face of climate change?
2. How would multiple interests including the nature recovery networks, natural capital, ecosystem services, socio-economic interests (farming, heritage, landscape, access) be accommodated?
3. How should we assess what ‘good’ and ‘harm’ looks like e.g. ecosystem natural function?

This think piece answers these questions by applying environmental economics thinking. It first considers the scope of the work and then discusses the relevance of economics to designating protected areas

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