Library Dissertation Showcase

Should the University of Lincoln campus be ‘wilder’?

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2023

The world is experiencing rapid biodiversity losses, with evidence suggesting that a sixth mass extinction is underway. Urbanisation contributes to these losses, but, at the same time, cities are heterogeneous environments with a possible untapped potential in supporting biodiversity. Urban rewilding is an emerging approach that aims to realise this potential and radically increase the biodiversity of urban spaces. However, like all conservation initiatives, urban rewilding must take into consideration the thoughts and feelings of the people it affects, to ensure that changes are socially-just and benefits are optimised for biodiversity and people alike. This project thus investigated the attitudes of University of Lincoln students towards possible urban rewilding of the Brayford Pool campus. A specially designed survey was carried out, with responses from 80 individuals. While some measures, such as planting of trees, were popular, overall attitudes towards campus rewilding were only mildly positive, with few agreeing that it should be a financial priority for the university and the majority of respondents believing that conservation should focus on ‘more natural’ landscapes. Critically, 80% of respondents did not agree that there should be significantly reduced human management of campus green spaces – a fundamental attribute of rewilding. As such, it could not be concluded that, from the perspective of the students, the University of Lincoln campus should be wilder. However, the results did suggest potential pathways to encourage support for rewilding, for example, through increasing use and appreciation of campus green spaces in general and feelings of nature connection. Thus, it is thought that, with a nuanced and gradual approach that acknowledges the complexity of human-biodiversity relationships, the transition to a campus that is home to greater biodiversity could be possible.

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