The last 10 years have seen English nature continue to strain under the pressures of development and the climate and environmental crises.[1] In response, politicians have increasingly sought policy solutions to reverse nature’s decline. Ranging from renowned biologist John Lawton’s vision of green networks for a thriving “ecological England”, [2] to the creation of the “Natural Capital Committee” on environmental economics, the UK has overseen a patchwork of advisory, regulatory, and conceptual attempts at strategising national level conservation.

These efforts have sought to acknowledge the fundamental links between nature and society, wildness and wellbeing, biosphere and economy, and as the climate crisis has intensified – and the UK has missed its international biodiversity targets [3] – the need for a joined-up approach has been underlined. In this context, the UK’s exit from the EU presented a unique opportunity to rethink England’s environmental governance regime, and achieve what the UK Government has labelled a “Green Brexit.” [4] 

The result, in November 2021, was the passing of the Environment Act. [5] Chapter Three Part Six of the Act concerns “Nature and biodiversity” and introduces landmark statutory changes which will significantly change how nature recovery is strategised, reported on, and integrated into public policy in England. At the heart of these changes are statutory responsibilities for local authorities to achieve and monitor nature recovery, and the requirement to produce “Local Nature Recovery Strategies” (LNRSs): spatial documents (organised geographic information about a location or area, such as maps) to guide and prioritise local conservation. [6] Piloted in five locations in England from August 2020 to May 2021, next year will see LNRSs rolled out nationally in collaboration with local stakeholders. These changes could mark a new era of local, public ownership of nature recovery responsibilities, generating new opportunities to integrate nature recovery into public policy across planning, economic development and climate change mitigation. [7]

The issue of nature recovery today is more urgent than ever. Nature recovery has frequently been defined as the creation of resilient ecological networks which enable nature to thrive under a variety of pressures, including climate change. [8] Nature recovery is also understood as embedded in multidimensional relationships with society, which are valued and experienced in diverse ways. [9] Over the last 50 years, however, 41% of species have declined in the face of development pressures. [10] The proportion of England’s Sites of Special Scientific Interest classed as ecologically recovering has declined year-on-year since 2016, and the amount in favourable condition is now lower than it was in 2006. [11] These statistics come despite ambitious environmental policy commitments, most notably the 2018 25 Year Environment Plan (25YEP), which aims to improve the environment within a generation. [12] Addressing this, LNRSs are intended to help local authorities identify local biodiversity priorities and delivery mechanisms through which to achieve them. [13] LNRSs comprise two products: a Statement of Biodiversity Priorities and a Local Habitat Map, which are to be reported on every five years to central government. [14] Once established, this system will contribute part of the governance infrastructure supporting the 25YEP, principally by underpinning a “Nature Recovery Network” across England.

Despite its bold ambitions, the 25YEP is currently missing its self-imposed targets, and has come under criticism for its methodology. [15] This methodology, the natural capital approach (NCAP) to conservation, seeks to quantify the benefits nature provides to society in predominantly economic terms. The NCAP attempts to capture “externalities” often missed by economic decision making, and enable cost-benefit analyses in conservation. [16] The 25YEP represents the first systematic use of the NCAP by DEFRA, and the NCAP has become the language of conservation in government. [17]

However, the UK Government’s ex-advisory body on natural capital, the Natural Capital Committee, has criticised DEFRA’s understanding of the NCAP, questioning indicators selected for monitoring outcomes, its choice of objectives, and the absence of local-national policy links. [18] These perceived shortcomings of the 25YEP, its NCAP methodology and local implementation prompt several questions, which this briefing intends to answer: how is the NCAP used in English conservation policy? How does the NCAP translate to local policy contexts? And is the 25YEP unimplementable? Given the urgency of the biodiversity and climate crises, such questions remain crucially important, to help shape the government‘s response to the crisis.

To shed light on these questions, I conducted interviews with 21 key stakeholders involved in England’s LNRS pilots, including representatives from DEFRA Group, local authorities, and conservation NGOs. The following analysis, and subsequent policy recommendations, are rooted in this primary research.

Key Points

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The NCAP: Beyond Pure Monetary Valuation

The NCAP to environmental policy foregrounds economic principles, cost-benefit-analysis and monetary valuation methods. Underpinning this approach are the concepts of “natural capital” and “ecosystem services” which view nature as “stocks” of biophysical assets (capital) and accompanying “flows” of benefits to society (services). [19] Under this approach, market prices, where possible, are approximated for these stocks and flows based on environmental assessment data. Since the 1990s, the concept of natural capital has become intertwined with the discourse of “sustainable development”. [20] As sustainable development has been mainstreamed, economic principles have increasingly shaped global environmental governance approaches. [21] The subsequent promotion of natural capital accounting by the United Nations, domestic governments and conservation NGOs reflects the rising prominence of these ideas. [22] Today, goals of efficiency, effectiveness, and resource optimisation drawn from the economics and business management disciplines commonly justify the NCAP’s use, placing nature largely in service of ’green growth’ agendas. [23]

The promotion of economic principles in environmental governance has been particularly evident in the UK. [24] The UK is perceived as an example of the turn toward marketisation, privatisation, and monetary valuation in environmental governance by Steven Knight-Lenihan, [25] with Esther Turnhout at al characterising these decisions as “neoliberal.” [26] Between 2008-2018, the UK Government reduced its conservation funding by 42% in real terms, limiting public regulation whilst experimenting with market-based solutions to biodiversity loss. [27] Simultaneously, the UK has positioned itself as a NCAP leader. [28] The UK National Ecosystem Assessment [29] and The Dasgupta Review on the Economics of Biodiversity [30] demonstrate the political salience of the NCAP in UK policy making over the last decade, and the UK Government’s interest in quantifying and monetising the role of nature in the economy. Louise Carver has described an “institutional assemblage” of networked actors in the UK, [31] that have promoted the NCAP’s adoption across government departments. [32] However, there remains a disconnect between NCAP policy ideals and outcomes for conservation on the ground. [33]

This disconnect has fuelled debate about what the NCAP means and how decision makers should value nature. The celebrated late ecologist Georgina Mace disputed suggestions that the 25YEP is purely rooted in economics, [34] whilst others have criticised the 25YEP’s Outcome Indicator Framework. [35] DEFRA has argued, by contrast, that “there is no single natural capital method or model”, [36] reflecting arguments made by the UK National Ecosystem Assessment, DEFRA’s Natural Capital Pioneer Projects, [37] and the wider natural capital literature, that the NCAP needs to reflect social and cultural values, and non-monetary methods of valuation. [38] Ecological concerns about reducing the complexity, uncertainty and multifunctionality of ecosystems to individuated, stable functions likened to financial products also persist around the NCAP. [39] These debates reflect contemporary concerns in conservation about the need to integrate plural “epistemologies of value” into decision making, [40] exemplified by the work of the International Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, [41] and DEFRA’s own advisory body, Natural England. [42] Such work has increasingly focussed on socio-cultural ecosystem services, researched and measured through qualitative approaches rooted in the humanities, which see the values people place on the environment as embedded in situated relationships with landscape, place, and community. [43] Therefore, while the NCAP may be politically salient in the UK through its compatibility with neoliberal governance and language, environmental valuation through the ecosystem services paradigm - as practised by academics such as Jacob Ainscough et al, [44] Patricia Rice et al [45], and Jasper Kenter [46] - has become increasingly pluralistic, conditional, and rooted in local contexts.

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Boundary Objects: Enabling Varied Nature Recovery Across Contexts

How does the potential for plurality and flexibility in the NCAP manifest on the ground with local policy makers? The multiple readings of concepts like ecosystem services, the NCAP and nature-based solutions enable a helpful flexibility in how diverse experiences of nature are integrated into local governance arrangements. [47] Constructively ambiguous concepts like these are known to policy analysts as “boundary objects”, [48] characterised as “robust enough to maintain a common identity”, whilst being adaptable to local contexts and interpretations. [49] For example, depending on the values of a local community or group of stakeholders, different types of ecosystem services may be prioritised in natural capital valuation. Similarly, while “nature-based solutions” instrumentalise nature as a vehicle for solutions to climate change, such solutions can mean a range of different interventions, from landscape engineering to conservation management techniques, depending on local preferences. [50] In this way, constructively ambiguous definitions can enable common consensus around a broader goal, whilst meeting varying local needs and priorities, thus helping to widen the scope of decision making.

Boundary objects perform crucial roles within governance systems. They can help break bureaucratic silos through establishing adaptable, agreed conceptual understandings across varied municipal sites. [51] This is particularly important in environmental governance which is, as Mark Reed has argued, “typically complex, uncertain, multi-scale and affect[s] multiple actors and agencies.” [52] However, boundary work can also resemble “empty ritual”, depriving stakeholders of real influence over policy outcomes if conceptual vagueness is used to cloak pre-determined outcomes, whilst ignoring imbalances of power. [53] Therefore, when stakeholders negotiate the meaning of boundary objects, this work must be informed, coordinated and sufficiently funded to account for these possible constraints. Stakeholders recognised by the National Ecosystem Assessment, [54] John Lawton, [55] and the UK Government [56] as vital to English nature recovery include local communities, local authorities, farmers, private land managers, and statutory bodies (such as DEFRA Group), as well as the voluntary sector and the private sector. Local authorities were encouraged by DEFRA to engage this range of stakeholders in their respective LNRS pilots.

Stakeholder engagement in environmental policy has been seen by many as best practice since the 1990s, though it can take many forms and is not always implemented on the ground. [57] Rowe and Frewer argue that stakeholder participation must involve two-way “communication” rooted in dialogue and negotiation, rather than one-way “consultation”. [58] The promise of participatory policymaking has also become idealised within neoliberal environmental governance as an optimally efficient way of producing policy. [59] This idealisation often ignores the new financial burdens placed on local institutions to comply with the additional monitoring, auditing and reporting that participation brings. [60] While research has shown that high levels of participation do not always lead to intended outcomes or efficiencies, [61] participatory definition of boundary objects through inclusive forms of communication could tailor the NCAP to locally situated priorities and values and encourage a sense of local ownership of nature recovery. Such an approach could make the LNRSs an opportunity to encourage a holistic valuation of nature through the monitoring of combined economic, ecological, and socio-cultural ecosystem services delivered by natural capital assessments. This incorporation of socio-cultural values and relationships with nature would also enable forms of intrinsic valuation to be captured in decision making.

How boundary objects – such as ecosystem services and nature-based solutions – are both used and understood is therefore crucial to how the NCAP translates in local settings. To what extent will LNRSs enable the participation of local stakeholders in defining what nature recovery means for their community? In May-June 2021, I spoke to 21 stakeholders involved in the LNRS pilots across Cornwall, Buckinghamshire, Greater Manchester, Cumbria, and Northumberland, to find out how they understood the NCAP, and the potential of LNRSs to aid nature recovery. From speaking to local authorities, DEFRA Group staff and local conservationists, my research identified four key findings:

  • Natural capital, ecosystem services and nature-based solutions were ambiguous concepts in the LNRS pilots.
  • There were limited opportunities for explicit discussion of the NCAP within pilots.
  • NCAP implementation is constrained by limited capacity and reliance on wider networks.
  • NCAP implementation is constrained by low public investment in conservation.

How did Local Stakeholders Perceive the Role of the NCAP in the LNRS Pilots?

Natural capital, ecosystem services and nature-based solutions as ambiguous concepts in the LNRS pilots

Through interviews with local stakeholders, it became clear that key concepts were understood in contrasting ways. A significant majority of interviewees first encountered the language of NCAP, natural capital and ecosystem services through DEFRA’s own communication of these ideas, with some interviewees familiar with monetary valuation techniques. Others saw natural capital as a metaphor for or equivalent to “public goods”. There was widespread scepticism towards relying solely on the monetary valuation of nature, for both ethical and ecological reasons. There was also confusion around how conservation interventions should be prioritised when making LNRS products. Should they be ranked according to the ecosystem services they could provide to society, or along traditional “nature first” principles? DEFRA Group interviewees acknowledged that the pilot area teams “instinctively” focussed on nature recovery instead of possible “wider environmental benefits”, such as nature-based solutions: “we [DEFRA] did steer them to go wider. And I imagine we'd probably want them to go wider still”. The role of knowledge brokers to explain, mediate, and guide these discussions was widely seen as key. Ultimately, DEFRA Group clarified that LNRS products were intended as multi-dimensional decision-making tools to enable stakeholder deliberation, not fixed definitions of what nature recovery should look like, recognising the “multiplicity of reasons” behind nature recovery decisions in any given context.

Limited opportunities for explicit discussion of the NCAP within pilots

In general, opportunities for explicitly discussing and negotiating the NCAP within the LNRS pilots appeared limited. This was partially down to the inconsistent approach to stakeholder engagement taken by different pilot area teams. Despite DEFRA supplying a “step-by-step production process” for LNRS products to pilot area teams, this was inconsistently followed. [62] This was due to a mixture of “time pressures”, disagreement with DEFRA’s “prescriptive” approach, and contrasting views on the merits of inclusive stakeholder engagement. The majority of interviewees supported inclusive stakeholder engagement, and the prospect of involving “local communities, schools, community groups” and “health sectors” in their consultations. However, one pilot area team simply gathered “public sector experts in a room [to] produce a plan, and then […] consult on that plan”. All teams interviewed expressed the difficulty of engaging farmers and landowners, given the importance of their perspectives on nature recovery: “it was an important component that was generally missing.” Additionally, technical monetary valuation was undertaken by skilled DEFRA Group staff in some pilots, moving the prioritisation element of the work outside of stakeholder deliberation, and thereby losing a layer of transparency from the process.

NCAP implementation is constrained by limited capacity and reliance on wider networks

LNRS implementation was also perceived to be constrained in key ways. There was widespread concern about how LNRSs will integrate with the planning system, from their unclear legal weight as an influence on local plans, to concern for the level of protections afforded to green infrastructure and Sites of Special Scientific Interest in the Environment Act. One DEFRA interviewee acknowledged that, of proposed changes to the planning system, “we don't know what the new planning system will look like. So it's very hard to say exactly how LNRSs will influence it.” Most interviewees also expressed scepticism towards the promise of biodiversity net gain obligations on developers. One council representative argued that biodiversity net gain is not “a panacea to investment in the natural environment”, due to the unknowable outcomes of environmental offsets, and unclear locations that will receive investment. Zooming out, there was an acknowledgment from DEFRA Group that “the world wasn’t quite ready” for local economic valuation as originally envisaged by the 25YEP, and instead there was a need for new skills, governance infrastructure, and environmental data to enable economic valuation in nature recovery long term. The LNRSs are perceived to be “a stepping stone towards that”. Ultimately, DEFRA Group interviewees saw the LNRSs as providing “institutional ownership of environmental problems” and “a mandate to progress” for organisations, to work towards “quite transformative changes …in the way that decisions are made” and embedding the NCAP incrementally.

NCAP implementation is constrained by low public investment in conservation

While LNRS products were perceived as useful, they were widely seen as insufficient on their own. There was widespread concern expressed by interviewees that they could end up “getting dusty on a shelf somewhere” if they were not accompanied by funded delivery plans. This was seen as particularly important for encouraging landowner and farmer community participation in the LNRS – demographics and communities who were universally seen as crucial to the success of nature recovery. Of the pilot area teams who worked with them, DEFRA’s “Environmental Land Management Scheme Conveners” were seen as helpful in translating future funding mechanisms into tangible and relatable details, thus making real the abstract promises of nature recovery for farming stakeholders. [63] However, DEFRA Group interviewees regularly drew on the discourses of “efficiency”, “effectiveness” and private funding of measures, evoking political-economic pragmatism. One national DEFRA Group interviewee argued: “the LNRS won’t be able to change the economic situation of the country… [but they] should maximise the effectiveness of spending in the sector”. The LNRS was emphasised as a strategy – “not a plan”, thus stopping “at the point of delivery”, and requiring the pursuit of private and commercial investment to support identified priorities. However, one natural capital specialist interviewed outlined some key challenges in the pursuit of private investment for complex, interdependent public goods delivered by ecosystems. These included “governance problems” such as the need for skilled brokers to handle transactions and monitor asset performance, alongside natural capital’s long-term, uncertain investment horizons. More fundamentally, however, was the reality that natural capital provides mostly “public benefits.” One natural capital specialist interviewed confided that “it's hard, because a lot of it is public goods and businesses are like, 'Why on earth would I pay for that?'”

Does the 25YEP Necessitate a New Political Economic Approach to Nature Recovery?

There is a fundamental tension at the heart of both the LNRSs and the 25YEP, between 1) the ambition of the NCAP, and 2) the types of political-economic interventions required to enable an NCAP in practice. As discussed previously, the NCAP promotes economic valuation within environmental governance, utilising monetary valuation techniques, increasingly in combination with social, cultural, and place-based non-monetary values. While the NCAP has become more pluralistic and adaptable, it achieves political salience in the UK context through its compatibility with neoliberal, “pragmatic” discourses, and the use of economic language. This research suggests that successful implementation of the NCAP at the local level instead requires a different political-economic approach. This disconnect between NCAP potential and existing neoliberal practice can be seen across several aspects of environmental governance:

  • the need for expanded public environmental data collection and monitoring, where public data collection has been historically under-funded.
  • the need for expanded local authority staffing capacity, specialist skills, and brokering services, where there have previously been cuts to local authority and regulatory budgets. 
  • the need for investment into natural assets for the long term, multi-functional provision of public goods, due to the complicated logistical barriers to entry, the immaturity of many natural capital assets, and the public goods they provide.

There have been steps to accompany the Environment Act with expanded public funding, to support the aims of the 25YEP and implementation of new policies, such as LNRSs. Such steps have included the recruitment of new specialist positions at DEFRA Group, the creation of new mechanisms to seed-fund nature-based solutions, [64] new fiscal incentives to drive sustainable land management practices, [65]and the Natural Capital Ecosystem Assessment to improve biodiversity data collection and monitoring. [66] However, there are concerns about how far this funding goes and the political economic rationale underlying these interventions. Prospect Union has highlighted how persistent low pay at Natural England poses serious risks to the advisory body’s work, creating hurdles for recruitment and staff retention. [67] Projects awarded grants through DEFRA Group’s Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund largely aim to sustain themselves through producing offset credits for private markets. [68] Meanwhile, the first of a series of Environmental Land Management Schemes, the Sustainable Farming Incentive, has been criticised for falling short of the ambitions of the 25YEP, and providing weak incentives around already common practices. [69] These criticisms highlight how neoliberal tendencies toward limiting public sector capacity, financialisation through offsetting markets, and a reliance on the private sector curtail the possibilities for a bolder, long-term nature recovery vision; one that seizes the potential for a more holistic NCAP, in combination with a bold programme of long-term patient investment and the pursuit of public luxury.

Additionally, these findings suggest that a more participatory approach to stakeholder engagement rooted in empowerment and common ownership may be necessary to build trust and cooperation between key stakeholders and local authorities, and to tailor the NCAP to local contexts. They, thus, suggest the need for an expanded role for government in conservation, including empowered public environmental institutions, long-term public investments, and a joined up conceptual approach to how the NCAP is effectively deployed in national and local 25YEP implementation.

Policy Recommendations for a New Political Economy of Nature Recovery

1. Increase public investment

Expand public investment in key natural assets to provide multi-functional public goods in support of the 25YEP, as strategically identified through LRNSs. The UK’s new Infrastructure Bank should provide long-term patient finance, supporting innovation and experimentation in natural capital management approaches. This could include the development of new monitoring regimes and indicators to capture the wellbeing, socio-cultural, economic, and ecological benefits provided to local communities by natural capital.

2. Give communities a greater stake and say

Expanded participatory involvement of local stakeholders in LNRSs, and inclusive deliberation of how the NCAP translates in local settings (such as Natural England’s Natural Capital Evidence Handbook [70]). Budgets for nature recovery should be devolved to local authorities to enable such participatory policy, as well as the empowerment of local stakeholder involvement.

3. Improve implementation

Investment in public sector capacity, specialist knowledge, data collection and monitoring to enable skilled implementation of the NCAP, and the brokering of different interests and agendas at the local level.

4. Grow public and community wealth

The economic benefits of nature recovery should be incorporated into progressive conceptions of public wealth and community wealth building, with roots in publicly owned local nature. Such conceptions of wealth could draw on the contemporary work of ecosystems services research into socio-cultural values and relational values, whilst integrating this into costed economic roadmaps toward decarbonisation and the fostering of public luxury.

See footnotes

[1] RSPB, ‘A Lost Decade for Nature’, 2020.

[2] J.H., Lawton, P.N.M., Brotherton, V.K., Brown, C., Elphick, A.H., Fitter, J., Forshaw, R.W., Haddow, S., Hilborne, R.N., Leafe, G.M., Mace, M.P., Southgate, W.J., Sutherland, T.E., Tew, J., Varley, & G.R. Wynne, ‘Making Space for Nature: a review of England’s wildlife sites and ecological network’, Report to Defra, 2010, p. v.

[3] RSPB, ‘A Lost Decade for Nature’.

[4] HM Government, A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment, London, 2018, pp. 1-151., p. 9.

[5] House of Commons, Environment Act, House of Commons: London, 2021.

[6] House of Commons, 2021.

[7] DEFRA, ‘Five local authorities announced to trailblaze England’s nature recovery pilots’, 2020,

[8] J.H., Lawton, P.N.M., Brotherton, V.K., Brown, C., Elphick, A.H., Fitter, J., Forshaw, R.W., Haddow, S., Hilborne, R.N., Leafe, G.M., Mace, M.P., Southgate, W.J., Sutherland, T.E., Tew, J., Varley, & G.R. Wynne, ‘Making Space for Nature: a review of England’s wildlife sites and ecological network’, Report to Defra, 2010; N. J. B. Isaac, P. N. M. Brotherton, J. M. Bullock, R. D. Gregory, K. Boehning-Gaese, B. Connor, H. Q. P. Crick, R. P. Freckleton, J. A. Gill, R. S. Hails, M. Hartikainen, A. J. Hester, E. J. Milner-Gulland, T. H. Oliver, R. G. Pearson, W. J. Sutherland, C. D. Thomas, J. M. J. Travis, L. A. Turnbull, K. Willis, G. Woodward, G. M. Mace, ‘Defining and delivering resilient ecological networks: Nature conservation in England’, Journal of Applied Ecology, 2017, 55, pp. 2537–2543.

[9] R., Biggs, A., de Vos, R., Preiser, H., Clements, K., Maciejewski, M., Schlüter, The Routledge Handbook of Research Methods for Social-Ecological Systems, 2022, Routledge, New York: NY.

[10] National Biodiversity Network, ‘State of Nature’, 2019, pp. 1-108, p. 6.

[11] DEFRA, ‘Extent and condition of UK protected areas’, 2021.

[12] HM Government, A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment, London, 2018, pp. 1-151., p. 9.

[13] DEFRA, Local Nature Recovery Strategy Process for Piloting, 2020.

[14] House of Commons, 2021.

[15] Natural Capital Committee, Final Response to the 25 Year Environment Plan Progress Report (October), London, 2020, pp. 1-75.

[16] HM Government, A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment.

[17] G. M. Mace, I. Batement, ‘The natural capital approach: ecological and economic perspectives: with Dame Georgina Mace and prof Ian Bateman’, 2018, https://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/videos/the-natural-capital-approachecological-and-economic-perspectives

[18] DEFRA, Outcome Indicator Framework for the 25 Year Environment Plan: 2021 Update, London, 2020, pp. 1–167.

[19] DEFRA, Enabling a Natural Capital Approach (ENCA), 2020, https://www.gov.uk/guidance/enabling-a-natural-capital-approach-enca

[20] O., Bina, F., La Camera, ‘Promise and shortcomings of a green turn in recent policy responses to the “double crisis”’, Ecological Economics, 2011, 70, pp. 2308–2316.

[21] A., Escobar, ‘Elements for a post-structuralist political ecology’. Futures: the Journal of Policy, Planning and Futures Studies, 1996, 28(4), pp. 325-343; C. A., Kull, X. A., de Sartre, M., Castro-Larrañaga, ‘The political ecology of ecosystem services’, Geoforum, 2015, 61, pp. 122–134.

[22] Example: United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), The SEEA as the Statistical Framework in Meeting Data Quality Criteria for SDG Indicators, New York, USA: UNSD, 2015.

[23] L. A. Acosta, P. Maharjan, H. Peyriere, R. J. Mamiit, ‘Natural capital protection indicators: Measuring performance in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals for green growth transition’, Environmental and Sustainability Indicators, 2020, 8, 100069.

[24] S. M., Barrett, ‘Implementation Studies: Time for a Revival? Personal Reflections on 20 Years of Implementation Studies’, Public Administration, 2004, 82(2), pp. 249–262.

[25] S., Knight-Lenihan, ‘Achieving biodiversity net gain in a neoliberal economy: The case of England’, Ambio, 2020, 49, pp. 2052-2060.

[26] E., Turnhout, K., Neves, E., Lijster, ‘‘Measurementality’ in biodiversity governance: knowledge, transparency, and the Intergovernmental Science–Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)’. Environment and Planning, 2014, 46, pp. 581-597.

[27] S.O.S.E., zu Ermgassen, J.W., Bull, B. Groom, ‘UK biodiversity: close gap between reality and rhetoric’, Nature, 2021, 595, p. 172.

[28] C., Spash, F., Hache, ‘The Dasgupta Review deconstructed: an exposé of biodiversity economics’, Globalizations, 2021.

[29] UK National Ecosystem Assessment, The UK National Ecosystem Assessment: Synthesis of the Key Findings. LWEC, UK: UNEP-WCMC, 2014.

[30] HM Treasury, The Dasgupta Review – Independent Review on the Economics of Biodiversity, London, 2021, pp. 1-81.

[31] L. Carver, ‘Measuring the value of what? An ethnographic account of the transformation of ‘Nature’ under the DEFRA biodiversity offsetting metric’, LCSV Working Paper Series, 2015, 11, pp. 1-33, p. 14.

[32] HM Treasury, Green Book: Central Government Guidance on Appraisal and Evaluation, London, 2020, pp. 1-137.

[33] S.O.S.E., zu Ermgassen, J.W., Bull, B. Groom, ‘UK biodiversity: close gap between reality and rhetoric’, Nature, 2021, 595, p. 172.

[34] G. M. Mace, I. Batement, ‘The natural capital approach: ecological and economic perspectives: with Dame Georgina Mace and prof Ian Bateman’.

[35] Natural Capital Committee, Final Response to the 25 Year Environment Plan Progress Report (October), London, 2020, pp. 1-75.

[36] DEFRA, Enabling a Natural Capital Approach (ENCA), 2020, https://www.gov.uk/guidance/enabling-a-natural-capital-approach-enca

[37] A., Lord, T., Sunderland, P., Rice, J. Traill Thomson, ‘Recovering Nature: Learning from the North Devon Landscape Pioneer’, CIEEM: in practice, 2020, 109, pp. 19- 23.

[38] A., Rincón-Ruiz, P., Arias-Arévalo, J. M., Núñez Hernández, H., Cotler, M. A., Caso, P., Meli, A., Tauro, V. D. Á., Akerberg, V. S., Avila-Foucat, J. P., Cardenas, L. A. C., Hernández, L. G., Castro, V. A. C., Hernández, A. C., Araque, J., Deschamps-Lomeli, J. M., Galeana-Pizaña, K. G., Oñate, J. A. H., Aguilar, A. D. Jimenez, L. Á. L., Mathamba, L. M. Pérez, M. L. M., Díaz, W. M., Marín, V. O., M. Á., Sarmiento, A., Tauro, J. D., Timote, L. L. T., Cardozo, A. T., Acosta, T., Waldron, ‘Applying integrated valuation of ecosystem services in Latin America: Insights from 21 case studies’, Ecosystem Services, 2019, 36, 100901.

[39] G. M., Mace, ‘The ecology of natural capital accounting’, Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 2019, 35(1), pp. 54–67.

[40] A. N., Kadykalo, M. D., López-Rodriguez, J., Ainscough, N., Droste, H., Ryu, G., Ávila-Flores, S., Le Clec’h, M. C., Muñoz, L., Nilsson, S., Rana, P., Sarkar, K. J., Sevecke, Z. V., Harmáčková, ‘Disentangling ‘ecosystem services’ and ‘nature’s contributions to people’’, Ecosystems and People, 2019, 15(1), pp. 269-287.

[41] U., Pascual, P., Balvanera, S., Dı, E., Roth, M., Stenseke, R. T., Watson, E., Ba, M., Islar, E., Kelemen, V., Maris, M., Quaas, S. M., Subramanian, H., Wittmer, A., Adlan, S., Ahn, Y. S., Al-hafedh, E., Amankwah, S. T., Asah, P., Berry, H. Saarikoski, ‘Valuing nature’s contributions to people: the IPBES approach’, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 2017, 26-27(7), pp. 7–16.

[42] P., Rice, J., Lusardi, A., Lord, T. Sunderland, ‘Natural Capital Evidence Handbook: to support place-based planning and decision-making’, Natural England Research Reports, 2021, 92, pp. 1-54.

[43] S., Stålhammar, H. Thorén, ‘Three perspectives on relational values of nature’, Sustainability Science, 2019, 14, 1201–1212.

[44] J., Ainscough, A., de Vries Lentsch, M., Metzger, M., Rounsevell, M., Schröter, B., Delbaere, R., de Groot, J., Staes, ‘Navigating pluralism: Understanding perceptions of the ecosystem services concept’, Ecosystem Services, 2019, 36, 100892, pp. 1-13.

[45] P., Rice, J., Lusardi, A., Lord, T. Sunderland, ‘Natural Capital Evidence Handbook: to support place-based planning and decision-making’.

[46] J., Kenter, ‘Deliberative and Non Monetary Valuation of Ecosystem Services’. Les services écosystémiques dans les espaces agricoles. Paroles de chercheur(e)s, 2020, pp.127-138.

[47] H. I., Hanson, B., Wickenberg, J. A., Olsson, ‘Working on the boundaries— How do science use and interpret the nature-based solution concept?’, Land Use Policy, 2020, 90, 104302.

[48] S. L., Star, J.R., Griesemer, ‘Institutional ecology, translations and boundary objects: amateurs and professionals in Berkeley's museum of vertebrate zoology, 1907–39’. Soc. Stud. Sci., 1989, 19, pp. 387-420.

[49] Ibid., p. 393.

[50] C., Nesshöver, T., Assmuth, K. N., Irvine, G. M., Rusch, K. A., Waylen, B., Delbaere, D., Haase, L., Jones-Walters, H., Keune, E., Kovacs, K., Krauze, M., Külvik, F., Rey, J., van Dijk, O. I., Vistad, M. E., Wilkinson, H. Wittmer, ‘The science, policy and practice of nature-based solutions: An interdisciplinary perspective’, Science of the Total Environment, 2017, 579, pp. 1215–1227.

[51] S., Saarela, J., Rinne, ‘Knowledge brokering and boundary work for ecosystem service indicators. An urban case study in Finland’, Ecological Indicators, 2016, 61, pp. 49-62.

[52] M. S., Reed, ‘Stakeholder participation for environmental management: A literature review’, Biological Conservation, 2008, 141, pp. 2417 – 2431.

[53] L., Sébastien, T., Bauler, M. Lehtonen, ‘Can Indicators Bridge the Gap between Science and Policy? An Exploration into the (Non)Use and (Non)Influence of Indicators in EU and UK Policy Making’, Nature and Culture, 2014, 9(3), pp. 316-343.

[54] UK National Ecosystem Assessment, ‘The UK National Ecosystem Assessment: Synthesis of the Key Findings’. UNEP-WCMC, LWEC: UK, 2014.

[55] J.H., Lawton, P.N.M., Brotherton, V.K., Brown, C., Elphick, A.H., Fitter, J., Forshaw, R.W., Haddow, S., Hilborne, R.N., Leafe, G.M., Mace, M.P., Southgate, W.J., Sutherland, T.E., Tew, J., Varley, & G.R. Wynne, ‘Making Space for Nature: a review of England’s wildlife sites and ecological network’, Report to Defra, 2010.

[56] HM Government, A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment, London, 2018, pp. 1-151.

[57] M. S., Reed, ‘Stakeholder participation for environmental management: A literature review’.

[58] G., Rowe, L. J., Frewer, ‘Public Participation Methods: A Framework for Evaluation’, Science, Technology, & Human Values, 2000, 25(1), pp. 3-29.

[59] V., Guarneros-Meza, M. Geddes, ‘Local Governance and Participation under Neoliberalism: Comparative Perspectives’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 2010, 34(1), pp. 15–29.

[60] E., Turnhout, A., Dewulf, M., Hulme, ‘What does policy-relevant global environmental knowledge do? The cases of climate and biodiversity’, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 2016, 18, pp. 65-72.

[61] Reed, M. S., Vella, S. Challies, E., de Vente, J., Frewer, L., Hohenwallner-Ries, D., Huber, T., Neumann, R. K., Oughton, E. A., del Ceno, J. S., van Delden, H. (2018). ‘A theory of participation: what makes stakeholder and public engagement in environmental management work?’, Restoration Ecology, 26(S1), pp. S7–S17

[62] DEFRA, Local Nature Recovery Strategy Process for Piloting, 2020.

[63] DEFRA, Local Nature Recovery Strategy Pilots: lessons learned, 2021, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-nature-recoverystrategy-pilots-lessons-learned/local-nature-recovery-strategy-pilots-lessons-learned; DEFRA, Environmental Land Management schemes: overview, 2021.

[64] DEFRA, ‘New £10 million fund to boost investment in nature projects’, 2021, https://deframedia.blog.gov.uk/2021/02/10/new-10-million-fund-to-boost-investment-in-nature-projects/

[65] HM Government, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/environmental-land-management-schemes-overview/environmental-land-management-scheme-overview

[66] Natural England, ‘Natural England action plan 2021 to 2022’, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/natural-england-action-plan-2021-to-2022/natural-england-action-plan-2021-to-2022#specialist-science-and-evidence

[67] P. Weston, ‘Low pay at Natural England ‘a threat to UK’s net-zero target’, 2022, The Guardian.

[68] HM Government, ‘Innovative nature projects awarded funding to drive private investment’, 2021, [online] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/innovative-nature-projects-awarded-funding-to-drive-private-investment

[69] F. Harvey, ‘Farmers in England to be paid for looking after soil health from next year’, 2021, The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/dec/02/farmers-in-england-to-be-paid-for-looking-after-soil-health-from-next-year

[70] P., Rice, J., Lusardi, A., Lord, T. Sunderland, ‘Natural Capital Evidence Handbook: to support place-based planning and decision-making’.

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