A new project involving researchers from Bath with international colleagues has launched to understand more about the impact of just transitions on biodiversity.

While climate change, biodiversity, environmental and social justice are increasingly understood as being interconnected, there has been much less attention paid to just transition within biodiversity protection. Given the growing prominence of the concept of climate justice in local, regional, and national climate action, this is a notable gap.

By analysing three sites with established approaches to just transition - Bristol in the UK, Yubari in Japan, and Cape Town in South Africa – the researchers behind the new project hope to develop more sophisticated tools to understand how a place-based approach can inform an expansive socio-ecological biodiversity governance model, which fosters a just transition for all species .

The research will involve an online survey and semi-structured interviews with policy professionals in the area of climate policy, aiming to understand the interplay between just transitions and biodiversity governance in each locality and also to develop partnerships with non-academic collaborators.

Among the outputs will be a readable overview of the development and conceptualisation of ‘just transition’ in biodiversity- related contexts; the research teams hope that this will be a useful resource for policy makers.

Dr Sophia Hatzisavvidou from the Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies at the University of Bath explains: "This is a tremendously important area for research and policy making, especially in 2021 which is considered a ‘super year’ for nature. Our research team aspires to fill in the gap in our capacity and knowledge to design and anticipate ambitious and realistic pathways to achieve biodiversity objectives in a just manner.”

Project lead, Professor Layard from the University of Bristol added: "This project will offer a more nuanced conceptualisation and definition of ‘just’ transition(s) in order to anticipate and design just transitions in biodiversity conservation and restoration. The outputs could feed into decision making processes on the local and national level."

The new project is funded for 10 months.

The full research team include:

  • Professor Antonia Layard (Bristol)
  • Dr Sophia Hatzisavvidou (Bath)
  • Professor Roger Few (UEA)
  • Dr Laura de Vito (UWE)
  • Dr Leslie Mabon (Scottish Association for Marine Science-University of the Highlands and Islands).
  • Hannah Moersberger (Future Earth Paris Hub at the Sorbonne University in Paris)
  • Dr Odirilwe Selomane (executive director of the Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) at Stellenbosch University).