Impact

Our research impacts on society by:

  • Conserving biodiversity through informing and developing management strategies that take into account the limits of eco-evolutionary population responses to habitat and climate change.
  • Enhancing food security by contributing to the development of more resilient food and biofuel crops, efficient aquaculture systems, and novel strategies for controlling pests.

Case study

‌The Condatis Project: bigger, better and more joined-up habitat networks

One of the biggest challenges for society in the 21st century will be to reconcile competing demands on land use while avoiding environmental degradation.  Species and ecosystems have limited capacity to survive climate change, especially in industrialised landscapes where natural habitats are fragmented, populations are small, and it is difficult for species to colonise sites that are newly climatically suitable.  In response to this challenge, many organisations are getting involved in ecosystem restoration, and aim to build a functioning ecological network which will be resilient to future shocks. Existing wildlife conservation sites will form the backbone of this network, but further sites will need to be created or restored. Tools are required to help inform this landscape scale conservation and to show how different habitat arrangements might maximise connectivity or flow through the landscape. One example of this is the Condatis software developed at the University of Liverpool by Jenny Hodgson.

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The Condatis project has catalysed great enthusiasm and support from stakeholders, who have guided its development from the beginning. It is now being tested and used by organisations including Natural England, Warwickshire County Council, Wildlife Trusts and Buglife. Condatis is being used to examine how proposed habitat creation or restoration will contribute to the overall connectivity of the landscape for important species or habitats, and also to identify key areas where movement routes for species need to be protected from future development, most notably the proposed high-speed rail route (HS2) through Warwickshire. The Condatis project now has a dedicated knowledge exchange fellow, who is working to continue the relationship with stakeholders and ensure the software develops to become a useful decision making tool. The aim is that conservation organisations will be better equipped to prioritise actions within habitat networks. The ultimate result will be that species and ecological functions are maintained in habitat networks that will be resilient for generations to come, contributing to multiple aspects of human prosperity.