Stephen Pritchard

The CCRI is delighted to announce that Stephen Pritchard has successfully defended his PhD thesis.

Following his viva, Stephen has only minor corrections to make to his final thesis, which is an excellent outcome. The examiners found the thesis very interesting and have encouraged Stephen to write a journal article from it.

Stephen commenced his PhD in October 2008 and was supervised by Jane Mills and Peter Gaskell.

The thesis was entitled: “The social construction of landscape scale conservation projects as delivered by The Wildlife Trusts movement in England” and Stephen has kindly supplied a short abstract especially for our news item:

“Wildlife conservation in England is in transition because nature reserve based conservation has three weaknesses. They have not reversed biodiversity decline, nor do they provide the means for species to move across the landscape in response to climate change, and most reserves are too small to be part of an ecosystem approach to conservation. Landscape scale conservation (LSC) addresses these deficiencies. Thus in the thesis the meaning of LSC as implemented in the Living Landscapes schemes of The Wildlife Trusts (TWT) movement in England is examined by exploring the governance and management of these schemes.

A constructivist approach is used to investigate the institutions and discourses of Living Landscapes. An email survey of the 36 Trusts in England produced documentation that describes Living Landscapes. This was supplemented with in-depth interviews with stakeholders associated with five Wildlife Trusts. These interviews probed into what Living Landscape schemes meant to these stakeholders.

The subsequent document analysis revealed the range and type of Living Landscapes across England. The analysis revealed that LSC is complex, suggesting that ecosystem services are too intricate a typography to assign to these schemes. However, exploring LSC through the lens of stakeholders in TWT’s Living Landscapes revealed the discourses and formal and informal institutions of Living Landscapes. The important governance discourses and institutions are examined using Lockwood’s governance framework (2009 & 2010).

The research examined TWT’s approach to delivering LSC. Two types of institutions emerged from the analysis, informal institutions define the physical attributes of Living Landscapes, whilst formal institutions are characteristic of their governance and management. The key discourses of conservation, education and community engagement define Living Landscapes, whilst ecosystem services emerged as a new discourse to reflect the multi-faceted cultural and historical elements in the landscape. TWT’s once insular approach to governance is in transition to a pluralistic model that encourages greater community involvement. Therefore, if LSC is to be a template for successful conservation it must embrace a wider definition of both conservation and governance.”