NERC Research Fellow, Conservation Science Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge
Dr Toby Gardner is interested in the ways in which science and the scientific process can contribute to solving real-world social-environmental problems. What conceptual and empirical support is necessary to help reconcile conflicts over environmental resources, encourage genuine dialogue amongst decision makers and lead to lasting changes in human behaviour?
His current work is focused on evaluating conservation-development trade-offs in different land-use systems in Brazilian Amazonia. Working with a large team of collaborators he is sampling spatial patterns of biodiversity (terrestrial and aquatic), above and below-ground carbon, soil fertility and the economic and social benefits of agricultural and forestry activities across multiple watersheds that are characterized by different dominant land-uses, namely; cattle ranching; arable croplands; plantation forestry and selective logging of native forest.
Field work is focused in two regions of eastern Amazonia (Santarém and Paragominas, Pará), both of which are currently undergoing rapid changes in land-use. The long-term goals of the project are to employ these data to evaluate opportunities for more sustainable development strategies in managed tropical forest landscapes, including both regulation and market based conservation strategies.
More broadly he is very interested in the ways in which conservation science is conducted, including how research priorities are identified and how scientific knowledge is shared and transferred among disciplines and between science, and the process of managing ecosystems and developing environmental policy.