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Alexandra Bell

Alexandra Bell

Graduate student in the Ecosystems and Global Change group,

Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge


Biography:

Market and policy failures are leading to an overexploitation and degradation of ecosystems, thereby constituting one of the primary reasons for species loss. In response to this problem, market-based instruments (MBIs), such as agri-environmental schemes or taxes, are used to encourage conservation activities and internalize the cost of biodiversity use. Besides addressing the core of the problem, namely that biodiversity is currently traded as a free good, they can also provide a cost-efficient way for reaching conservation. However, the outcome of these instruments is currently difficult to predict, e.g. as it is not always clear how different levels of management induced by MBIs in forestry and agriculture actually impact habitat structure and thus species diversity. Moreover, how different instruments can be combined to gain the best possible conservation outcome remains unknown.

During her PhD, she will test how different MBIs conserve avifauna in agricultural and forest landscapes. She intends to understand how (1) woodland management grants can maximize outcomes for bird conservation and simultaneously benefit local communities in the UK; (2) increases in monetized government investments into subsidies for biodiversity will actually lead to an increase in biodiversity conservation; (3) ways in which different MBIs can be combined to better promote biodiversity conservation. Her approach will be to collect field data in an existing woodland experiment setup by the Forestry Commission England and the RSPB, mine government databases for economic and biodiversity data, and draw upon remote-sensing technology to measure management outcomes.

Keywords

  • threatened birds
  • ecosystem management and market-based instruments biodiversity conservation