Research & Projects

Strategic Environmental Research Initiative (SERI) Equity:
Accounting for social equity in resource management and conservation planning

Bren School professors Sarah Anderson, Mark Buntaine, and Ben Halpern lead an inderdisciplinary team pursuing new strategies for incorporating concerns about equity and justice into decisions relating to conservation and natural-resource management.

Conservation actions generally benefit some groups more than others, and this inequity may affect the probability of achieving management and conservation objectives. Thus, triple-bottom-line solutions – those that are effective, efficient, and equitable – are considered most likely to achieve each objective individually and collectively (Halpern et al. 2013). That assumption, however, has not been rigorously tested. In the year-long project, the SERI-Equity team will address the core question of how management actions in a landscape (either by permitting uses or setting aside areas for conservation) affect social equity. They will also examine how to achieve potentially competing goals within social equity while also ensuring economic prosperity and thriving biodiversity.

SERI Equity Speakers
As part of SERI Equity, experts on various aspects of environmental equity will be featured this year at Bren School public colloquia. Meet the speakers.

To date, the topic of environmental justice and equity has been addressed primarily through narrative, or qualitative, means or metrics. Demand is increasing for more-consistent metrics that can be measured across sites and over time. The Bren School and its faculty are uniquely positioned to address this need and create innovative research initiatives.

We envision a range of possible research, including: 1) how to formally include equity in conservation planning; 2) how consideration of equity changes the likelihood that policies will be adopted; and 3) how to create management institutions that promote equity.

By inviting colloquium speakers, engaging Bren MESM and PhD students, and convening Ignite Workshops of core researchers aimed at incubating research, the team seeks to break new ground by offering tools for effectively integrating equity into conservation issues.

Read a new paper about conservation and equity co-authored by SERI researcher Ben Halpern and published in the November 2015 issue of Gloabl Environmental Change.

Read a paper on related subject matter lead-authored by SERI researcher Ben Halpern and Bren School alumna Carissa Klein and published in Proceedings of the National Academies of Science in 2013.


Sarah Anderson

Mark Buntaine

Ben Halpern