There is increased government, investor, and public support for nature-based solutions to address biodiversity loss, net zero ambitions, climate change and green economy needs, improved ecosystem service delivery, and community benefits, which has led to a rapid increase in active coastal habitat restoration projects. However, these pilot projects typically face the same challenges, particularly related to the integration of biodiversity and finance into seascape restoration projects. Developing a platform that connects individual restoration projects and partnerships, and which builds a network to collectively create solutions that address barriers to a nature-positive future will support the sustainability of the projects and the durability of outcomes. The proposed research network in this proposal will examine practical opportunities to optimise the integration of finance and biodiversity within seascape restoration for a nature-positive future. Our partnership is multidisciplinary, with extensive experience and representation from the academic, applied finance, biodiversity and governance communities. Our project has three main stages. First, we will leverage existing networks and partnerships to establish the Solent to Sussex Bay Seascape Restoration Network which will connect existing seascape restoration projects. We will initiate a series of 'discovery' conversations to co-develop a research agenda for the network. Second, we will utilise the network and, guided by the co-developed agenda, hold themed workshops to identify possible solutions that support the enhanced integration of finance and biodiversity in seascape restoration in the Solent to Sussex Bay area. Given the wealth of experience in seascape restoration generated by the concentration of active restoration activities in the network area, we will adopt 'learning by doing' which will draw from the real-life experience of project partners. This will be supplemented by focused research scoped through network discussions to fill evidence gaps identified by the wider academic community and stakeholder groups. Third, we will combine the results of our intensive study of the Solent to Sussex Bay area with a series of national dialogues with the finance and biodiversity researchers and practitioners around the UK (through four national workshops) to develop a framework for integrating biodiversity and finance into future seascape restoration projects. The result will be 1) a framework to better integrate finance and biodiversity into seascape restoration for a nature-positive future, and 2) increased confidence of investors in biodiversity restoration projects. The national network will be well-placed to contribute to a future unified hub-and-spoke network to support a nature-positive UK.
|Effective start/end date||2/01/23 → 29/03/24|