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Opening the black box of nature valuation: the case of UNESCO nature parks in Europe


This project will shed a new light on the valuation of nature and will thereby contribute to preparing European society for what has been called the Anthropocene.
NatUval will develop empirically grounded knowledge on how environmental valuation shapes the roles of, and relations between, people, objects, concepts and methods associated with the management and justification of nature parks. Different valuation practices currently coexist in international institutes for environmental conservation. The objective is to (1) conceptualize how values are attached to ecosystems and landscapes in those institutes and to (2) develop a first typology of environmental valuation practices in order to (3) set the outlines for a systematic and long-term empirical research on the performativity of environmental valuation and its consequences for environmental management.
Building on my previous experience and research principles of grounded theory and Actor-Network Theory, my systematic approach will develop and apply an analytical toolbox on two contrasting case studies in order to (1) assess similarities and differences as well as complementarities and frictions between different valuation practices and (2) evaluate the performative work of a selected sample of valuation tools. NatUval combines document analyses with participatory observation of meetings and in-depth interviews of staff and volunteers around two nature parks in Europe and at UNESCO and the IUCN. Insights from these case studies will be used to update the analytical toolbox and develop a typology of valuation tools.
Since environmental valuation is core to environmental management, I am highly convinced of NatUval’s societal importance. Different dissemination and communication strategies will be used to maximize impact, including scientific papers, a hands-on report and an innovative educational tool. The purpose is to stimulate a fertile debate on the way we want to relate with nature and conservation.

Call for proposal

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Funding Scheme

MSCA-IF-EF-ST - Standard EF


Boulevard Saint Michel 60
75272 Paris
Activity type
Research Organisations
EU contribution
€ 184 707,84