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Research areas

Socio-economic motivations

This research area focuses on motivations of the conservation activities that combine market and non-market motives. Economic research has shown that biodiversity has total economic values running into the trillions of Euros worldwide and hundreds of millions even for ‘minor’ ecosystem services on local scales. In spite of these immense values, politicians and the public in general do not appear to respond swiftly and effectively to prevent further biodiversity degradation. Why is that? What could really work to motivate publics and politics into action for biodiversity? Read more.

This research area aims to deliver new insights into how biodiversity values can be put to work in biodiversity governance at the local to the global scales, in particular through the following research lines:


Institutional and legal regimes

This research field explores stewardship and liability regime as an alternative to proprietary solutions for ownership over biodiversity and genetic resources. The institutional and legal dimension for managing biodiversity is fundamental, as it provides incentives for actors to engage and respect environmental friendly initiatives and regulations, and defines the framework where enforcement and compliance ensures an improvement of biodiversity indicators and enhances research. Read more.

In particular, we are developing innovative governance arrangements for the following research lines:

Environmental ethics and theory of justice

Sustainability has become part of the mainstream policy discourse over the last two decades. However, despite its interdisciplinary approach, sustainability research is still a long way from genuinely integrating concepts and methodologies from ecology, economics and social sciences. A more thorough reflection on values and theoretical assumptions is needed in order to provide structure to this rapidly-developing field. Read more.

Our research unit contributes to this process by focusing on these key issues: