Placements 2016 - Timothy Wilkinson

Exploring biodiversity values in the Somerset Levels with ‘ecological entrepreneurs’

This placement with the RSPB explored the values attributed to biodiversity in the Somerset Levels by ‘ecological entrepreneurs’ from the NGO community (e.g. Somerset Wildlife Trust), active citizen groups (e.g. Flooding on the Levels Action Group) and private enterprise (e.g. Coates English Willow). Through interaction with ‘ecological entrepreneurs’ it aimed to explore if, and with what motivations, there is an appetite to promote nature on the Somerset Levels for visitors, and how biodiversity could attract people and income.

Following the extreme weather events implicated in major floods on the Somerset Levels in 2013-14, environmental and financial pressures are necessitating increased collaboration: organisations ‘working together’. However, such rhetoric belies the micro-level challenges of inter-organisational dialogue and action, particularly in the case of hard-to-quantify, non-use values of nature like biodiversity.

This placement aimed to facilitate the exchange of ideas about biodiversity values among ‘ecological entrepreneurs’; to aid articulation of claims about the role of biodiversity in health and wellbeing, and clarify tactics for motivating pro-environmental behaviour. Outcomes are to inform future development pathways for the Somerset Levels and shape RSPB engagements with entrepreneurial networks.

Placement information: 

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