Biodiversity & societyHERO

The Oxford Martin School Programme on Biodiversity and Society

Healthy Ecosystem Restoration in Oxfordshire (HERO)

Healthy Ecosystem Restoration in Oxfordshire (HERO) is a three year programme (in the first instance) supported by the Oxford Martin School, under their new Programme on Biodiversity and Society. HERO will explore how Oxford University can play a role in efforts to restore healthy ecosystems in Oxfordshire, by bringing the university’s strengths in academic knowledge, research capacity and convening power to support ongoing and planned nature recovery activities by a range of local partners and stakeholders. We are working with organisations from around Oxfordshire to maximise the potential for demonstration and research of HERO.

Daisies in a meadow

Oxfordshire presents a unique opportunity to test and showcase a portfolio of different ecosystem restoration strategies.

With its active network of nature recovery groups, Oxfordshire presents a unique opportunity to test and showcase a portfolio of different ecosystem restoration strategies, to become a model county for nature recovery. HERO aims to build a community of practice between the University and local practitioners, and will also form a resource for the University and its constituent Colleges within broader institutional sustainability goals.

The HERO network brings together researchers from the natural and social sciences with local authorities, environmental organisations, and community groups who are already working on a range of initiatives to help support nature’s recovery and enhance the multiple benefits that nature provides in Oxfordshire. We aim to support the emerging Local Nature Partnership, and the development of the Local Nature Recovery Strategy and a Natural Capital Investment Plan.

We are working closely with BBOWT (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust) and Wild Oxfordshire, who already play a key role in convening and supporting local stakeholders, as well as the Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment (TOE) which is setting up a county trial to combine and coordinate different streams of environmental funding. We also aim to engage with local Catchment Partnerships, Farmer Clusters and community groups, as well as prominent supporters of Oxford’s biodiversity research in the business, finance, government and NGO sectors, to strengthen links with external stakeholders.

HERO will hold a regular and frequent series of workshops and seminars to examine key opportunities, challenges and evidence gaps around nature recovery in Oxfordshire, and also provide a limited amount of research resources to help fill evidence gaps.