The project



International collaboration with an holistic approach

ENVISION is a 3-year project funded through the 2017-2018 Belmont Forum and BiodiveERsA joint call under the BiodivScen ERA-Net COFUND programme. The ENVISION project will result in the development of several communications and policy tools to identify, compare and balance the multiple visions for any given area. ENVISION will also enhance understanding about social and ecological consequences of protected area management with an aim to facilitate reflection on future growth and landscape change.


Focusing on improving biodiversity and human well-being

More inclusive approaches are needed to protected area management that enhance the conservation of protected areas and provide for multiple well-being benefits for people and nature.

Protected areas conserve biodiversity and ecosystem functioning that underpin essential services.

They are a critical and cost-effective component of adaptation and risk reduction strategies.

The protected area network in the EU is among the most ambitious in the world.

The Convention on Biological Diversity is a multilateral treaty with three main goals: the conservation of biological diversity (or biodiversity); the sustainable use of its components; and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources.

Numerous targets are set out under the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity (the Aichi Targets). However, these targets are not likely to be achieved partly attributed to:

Difficulties in balancing conservation goals with economic and social drivers

Low stakeholder involvement in protected area conservation

Protected areas lacking support, such as capacity among local and national governments

Our inclusive approach with its comprehensive understanding and consideration of these issues is critical to safeguard biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human well-being.


Towards a better future for people and nature

ENVISION uses a variety of tools and processes that emphasize local and regional participation, engage diverse groups, and facilitate reflection on future growth and landscape change.

The project stages involve:

Developing mixed-method, participatory scenario planning tools and processes.

Identifying, comparing and balancing multiple protected area management visions.

Enhancing understanding of the social and ecological consequences of multiple visions for protected areas management

Making evidence-based recommendations in order to inform post-2020 biodiversity policy.


In partnership with local residents, protected area managers and diverse industry groups, ENVISION will examine the consequences of multiple visions for protected area management in four case study areas.


The consortium of ENVISION includes universities, a small enterprise, and an international organization. It has been carefully selected to include experts in human and natural systems from across Europe and beyond with complementary expertise in social and political science, agricultural advice, economics, ecological and biological modelling, political ecology, and participatory approaches.

ENVISION was funded through the 2017-2018 Belmont Forum and BiodivERsA joint call for research proposals, under the BiodivScen ERA-Net COFUND programme, and with the funding organisations below.




Team members have extensive experience in project management, connections to regional and international policy-making processes, and academic expertise in their respective fields of study.

Christopher Raymond is the Coordinator of the ENVISION project, and Professor of Sustainability Science at the University of Helsinki and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. He is internationally regarded for the development of participatory techniques that can be used to identify, assess and integrate citizens’ values into environmental decision-making.  Chris’ research enables citizens, industry and policy makers to work together to support more integrated approaches to protected area management in different cultural contexts.

Andra Milcu is a postdoctoral researcher within the Social Values for Sustainability Research Group led by Prof. Christopher Raymond, and working within the ENVISION project. Andra is a transdisciplinary sustainability scientist with a background in social-ecological systems research and experience in place-based transdisciplinary methods. She is mainly interested in leveraging the transformative potential of relational modes of knowledge co-creation in real-world contexts. Her main focus is on the role of held and assigned values in underpinning such knowledge. Through her boundary work, she aspires to contribute to managing the science|society interface and to reframing sustainability in terms of core values.

Sara Zaman is a current Master’s student at the University of Helsinki, under the Agricultural, Environmental, and Resource Economics program. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sustainability Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. At present, she is a member of the Social Values for Sustainability research group headed by Dr. Christopher Raymond. Her research interests lie in the sustainable and equitable management of landscapes through non-monetary, relational valuation of the environment. She is currently working on her Master’s thesis using Public Participatory Geographic Information System survey methodologies, to continue assessment for the potential for this tool as a bridge between users of an environment and policy makers.

Veronica Lo is a researcher and ENVISION project manager at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. She is currently using participatory tools to understand community perceptions of change and how they relate to protected areas visions and management strategies. She has a joint PhD degree from the University of Bologna and Ghent University in partnership with the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, where she applied experimental field methods to investigate the effects of human pressures on coastal ecosystem services. Veronica has consulted with UN agencies, NGOs and the private sector on diverse topics including protected areas policy, ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change, and enhancing synergies in the implementation of multilateral environmental agreements. She is a writer for the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, reporting on environmental meetings around the globe.

Magdalena Wiedermann is a researcher and ENVISION project manager at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. Her background is in Plant Ecology with a particular interest in plant-soil interactions, biodiversity, and ecosystem response to global change. She has a PhD degree from the University of Umeå and worked as a post-doctoral researcher at Michigan Technical University. While teaching general biology at the University of Cincinnati and conservation ecology at the University of Umeå Magdalena acquired a broad knowledge of biodiversity research and issues surrounding biodiversity loss and management.

Tobias Plieninger is Professor of Social-Ecological Interactions in Agricultural Systems at the Universities of Kassel and Göttingen, Germany. He was Associate Professor at the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management at the University of Copenhagen from 2013 to 2017. He studied forestry at the Universities of Freiburg and Göttingen and received a PhD in Landscape Management from the University of Freiburg and a Habilitation degree in Landscape Ecology from Humboldt-University of Berlin. Tobias Plieninger is member of the editorial boards of “Ecology & Society”, “Ecosystems”, and “Sustainability Science”. He served as review editor for the Europe and Central Asia Assessment, Chapter 5, Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). He was coordinator of the EU-FP7 research project “Sustainable Futures for Europe’s Heritage in Cultural Landscapes” ( His research interests are located within the field of sustainability science, focusing on the topics of landscape change, multifunctional land use, ecosystem services, and social-ecological resilience. Find out more.

Miguel A. Cebrián-Piqueras (Dr. rer. nat.) is trained in landscape ecology (Aarhus and Helsinki universities), landscape planning and environmental sciences (UMH University, Spain). His research combines quantitative approaches coming from ecology (e.g. functional and process-based) and social-ecology (e.g. participatory methods and stakeholder assessments of ecosystem services) to explain human-nature relationships in the form of predictive and explanatory models (i.e. environment-biodiversity-ecosystem services relationships).  He has a growing interest in the use of place-based approaches to explain social-ecological systems for improvement of all forms of nature conservation.  Outside academia, he has worked for several landscape planning, nature conservation and international cooperation projects within EU-LEADER program (ADIMAN) and environmental planning start-up consultancy (Ecomimesis). He obtained his PhD in Oldenburg University (Germany) in landscape ecology and ecosystem services under the collaborative project COMTESS and he collaborates, since 2016, as research fellow and lecturer in landscape planning and nature conservation in the Institute for Environmental Planning of Hanover. In 2019, he joined, as researcher, the chair of social-ecological interactions in agricultural systems in Göttingen to coordinate the work package “Framing inclusive conservation” within the ENVISION project.

Peter Verburg is professor of Environmental Spatial Analysis and leads the Environmental Geography group that is part of the Institute for Environmental Studies, VU University Amsterdam. He has developed and applied a wide range of methods to analyze spatial patterns of land use at scales from local to global. is work on regional and global scale land use modeling has resulted in one of the most frequently used land use models worldwide (CLUE). Peter is the former chair of the Global Land Programme of Future Earth and is actively involved in several EU-level research projects in the field of land use, sustainable city planning, climate change adaptation, rural development and ecosystem services.

Anna Filyushkina has a Double PhD in Environmental and Resource Economics & Forestry from University of Copenhagen & Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. Her research interests combine social, economic and ecological dimensions with the ultimate aim to identify trade-offs and synergies between ecosystem services as well as optimal management strategies. She has worked on the effects of land use, conservation measures and climate change on the provisioning of ecosystem services and preservation of biodiversity. Anna is also interested in participatory methods and the  science-policy-society interface. She is a fellow with the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and an active member of  the Young ES Specialists (YESS) network. Since 2018 she is also a writer for the popular science website Envirobites.

Marc Metzger is a Reader in Environment and Society at the University of Edinburgh and collaborates with a diverse team of scholars, students, policy makers and practitioners to achieve a more sustainable world. Over the last 15 years he has contributed to a wide range of interdisciplinary projects focusing on the potential impacts of global environmental change on ecosystems and the services they provide to society. Initial work focused on mapping the vulnerability ecosystem services to global change. This sparked an interest in scenario development and stakeholder engagement, and more recently understanding normative visions of sustainable land use. However, Marc’s research interests are broad, and he has published on topic as diverse as the need for climate adaptation in the wine industry, migration of the European crane, tourism in Spain, soil erosion in Portugal, climate change impacts in the Kailash Sacred Landscape and local community values in the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Reserve.

Carena van Riper, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor and interdisciplinary social scientist at the University of Illinois. Her lab is situated within the human dimensions of natural resources and is primarily focused on increasing scientific understanding of human behavior related to the sustainability of social-ecological systems. van Riper and her students investigate multiple drivers of behavior, particularly the psychological mechanisms such as environmental values that shape how and why people make decisions about the environment. She works closely with individuals (e.g., residents and tourists associated with protected areas) and groups (e.g., natural resource agencies and environmental organizations) to explore factors that enable and constrain adaptations to impacts such as invasive species, climate change, and human-wildlife conflicts. Most of her work is guided by psychological theories and mixed methods to incorporate stakeholder viewpoints into management decisions and policy outcomes.

William Stewart, Professor, University of Illinois, has been conducting research on park development and community-based conservation for more than 30 years. His research program is directed at understanding relationships between park environments, individual health, and community well-being. Bill’s research develops an understanding of place meanings, and provides communities with insight regarding public values and social benefits of their parks. His research partners have included scholars from landscape architecture, ecology, sociology, and economics.

Evan Salcido is a PhD student in the University of Illinois’ Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, advised by Dr. Carena van Riper. He holds a B.S. in Zoology from The Ohio State University (received in 2014), and a M.S. in Natural Resource Science & Management from the University of Minnesota (received in 2019). In between these degrees, Evan worked as a contract researcher in an aquatic toxicology laboratory. Evan specializes in the human dimensions of natural resource management, with his key research interests including human-wildlife conflict, mammalian behavior & ecology, and wildlife & natural resources policy. His work aims to inform & improve our ability to reconcile human interests with environmental necessities.

Dana Johnson is a M.S. student in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences with a background in the social and natural sciences. She received her B.S. in Resource Conservation and Restoration Ecology at UIUC in 2018. Through her studies and professional experience, she has grown passionate about bridging the gap between the social and natural sciences to facilitate successful conservation plans. Using conservation psychology, behavior change science, and other natural and social sciences, Dana is interested in advancing applied nature conservation by integrating ecological and social drivers of change. Specifically, her research interests include understanding human-nature relationships to influence pro-environmental behavior. Particularly, her master’s work explores mending local knowledge and values with tourist and ecological values to foster comprehensive protected area management. Elements of Dana’s program of study include spatial dynamics of social values, social-ecological systems, sense of place, and facilitating pro-environmental behavior.

Rose Keller holds a PhD in Geography, with an emphasis in land use change and community engagement. Raised in the ranching community of Burns and in a family of earth scientists, the dynamism of resource use and conservation was a part of daily life. Rural perspective, applied to socio-ecological systems, propelled her to conduct interdisciplinary work in Northern Europe, Russia, and the American West. Now a social scientist with Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska, she works with resource managers, Elders, and other community leaders to understand tourism, seasonal and amenity migration, impacts to subsistence livelihoods, and displacement in public lands. She strives to meet the challenge of sustainability in the rapidly changing landscapes in the circumpolar north through collaborative research with respect for the diverse values (and names) of place. She loves being a part of the communities around Denali, and, in true Alaskan form, lives for the winter and off the grid.

Riley Andrade is a postdoctoral scholar in the Van Riper Research Group at the University of Illinois. As a Landscape Ecologist and Geographer, Riley Andrade’s research interests include social-ecological dynamics from local to regional scales. Specifically, her work focuses on people’s values and attitudes in relation to nature experiences, as well as how these factors interact with structural constraints to drive management decisions that influence biodiversity and human well-being. She joined the ENVISION project to coordinate the ‘Social learning about the consequences of multiple visions’ with the communities surrounding Denali National Park.

Erik Andersson, Associate Professor in Sustainability Science at Stockholm University, is a transdisciplinary ecologist interested in how ecological conditions and processes together with governance and human perceptions and values shape multifunctionality and how we understand and appreciate nature. He studies flows of multiple ecosystem services and benefits, often with cities and urban residents as the final end users, the impact this use has on both ends of the supply chain, and how and when these flows may change over time. The scope and extent of Andersson’s studies tend to be larger than individual sites, and then cross boundary, cross scale dynamics become critical. This is manifested in, for example, research projects on formally protected nature, and how work with perceptions, understanding, governance and functional linkages could make them more than what they are today.

My Sellberg is a postdoctoral researcher at Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, with two main research interests: transformations to sustainable and resilient food systems, and application of resilience thinking in societal and environmental planning at the local and regional level. She did her PhD in Sustainability Science on the main topic of advancing resilience practice, particularly in local and regional work with sustainable development and natural resource management with case studies mainly from Sweden and Australia. Sellberg’s research is transdisciplinary and with competence in process facilitation she engages actors outside of academia in co-producing knowledge. Recently, Sellberg developed a pilot training program in resilience aimed at civil servants from municipalities, county councils, and regions in Sweden. The project will pave the way for utilizing resilience practice approaches and methods within strategic societal planning in Swedish governance organizations.

Jan Kuiper is a researcher at Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, with a background in participatory modelling, systems analysis, scenario planning and regime shift theory. He is a Fellow of the Task Force on Scenarios & Models of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). He holds a Mobility Grant of the Swedish Research Council FORMAS to conduct empirical social-ecological systems analyses to develop new scenario methods while supporting the bottom-up development of a new Urban National Park in the Netherlands. Previously he contributed to the development of the Global Biodiversity model for policy support (GLOBIO) at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL). He earned his PhD at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology in Wageningen (NIOO-KNAW) where he studied resilience and regime shifts in aquatic ecosystems. In close collaboration with water quality managers and engineering firms, he developed dynamic modelling tools that can be used to evaluate ecosystem services, quantify resilience and predict the occurrence of regime shifts.

Isabel Ruiz-Mallén has a PhD in Environmental Sciences at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and is currently working as a ‘Ramón y Cajal’ senior research fellow at the IN3-Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC). She has a professional background in environmental science research, and specifically in environmental education, community-based natural resource management and biodiversity conservation, rural vulnerability and adaptation to global changes, and participatory action-research approaches. Her current research interests also lie in co-creation for sustainable and resilient urban settings, and public engagement in research and science through arts-based approaches. In this last regard, she recently coordinated the 2M€ Horizon 2020 European project PERFORM ‘Participatory Engagement with Scientific and Technological Research through Performance’ (   2015-2018) and is a member of the Catalan Council of Science Communication (C4). She is currently leading the ENVISION work-package on rethinkng power relations and governance models and instruments of protected areas.

María D. López-Rodríguez is a PhD graduate in Applied Environmental Sciences. Currently, she works at the Open University of Catalonia (Spain). Her main area of research is focused on conducting transdisciplinary research to bridge the links between science and other parts of society in order to advance the governance of social-ecological systems in different cultural, social and institutional frameworks. Her motivation is to conduct research so scientific knowledge can be a driver of societal learning and policy changes to advance towards sustainability. Her work includes the Analysis and Design of adaptive governance models in the National Protected Areas Network of Peru (2014-2017) which has generated instrumental impacts on environmental governance through the development of innovative approaches and tools to catalyze the collaboration between actors with plurality of perspectives and values in this national network.

Hug March is an associate professor at the Faculty of Economics and Business of Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. He is also affiliated to the Urban Transformation and Global Change Laboratory at the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3), Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain. He has a Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain. Before arriving at Universitat Oberta de Catalunya as a senior researcher, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institut National de Recherche Agronomique (Toulouse, France) and Géosciences Environment Toulouse (France). His current research gravitates around the urban political ecology of socio-environmental transformation and more specifically the political ecology of water.

Elisa Oteros-Rozas is a “Juan de la Cierva – Incorporation” postdoctoral fellow at the University of Vic – University of Central Catalonia and collaborating researcher at the Group of Social and Participatory Action Research (GISAP). Originally trained as Biologist, she holds a MSc and a PhD in Ecology from the Autonomous University of Madrid. She served as Leading Author of the Europe and Central Asia Regional Assessment of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). She is Associate Editor of the journal Rangeland Ecology and Management and her research interests include pastoralism, local/traditional ecological knowledge, political ecology and agroecology, with the transversal axes of gender/feminism and participation/inclusiveness.

Guzmán Sánchez is the Co-founder and Projects Director at Scienseed. He holds a PhD in Molecular Biology and has an extensive research experience in the study of cell signalling, which he carried out at the University of Leeds (UK), Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa (Spain), University of Montreal (Canada), University of Leicester (UK) and the Max-Planck Institute (Germany). He is a skilled writer of scientific literature and an enthusiastic communicator. In parallel, he has specialized in science dissemination with a particular focus in exploring the science/society interphase, collaborating with different media such as Periodismo Humano, and Mapping Ignorance.

Alberto Arroyo Schnell is responsible for the management and coordination of the policy work at the IUCN European Regional Office in Brussels, as well as for the IUCN European Work Programme. This includes IUCN’s activity on European biodiversity policy, sustainable agriculture/CAP, plastic / circular economy, climate change / forest / land use debate and of course the SDGs as the overarching umbrella. Before IUCN, Alberto worked for the WWF European Policy Office during many years, focused on European Biodiversity Policy. Previously, he also worked for a Spanish Regional Administration (La Rioja Region). He is Spanish, with a background in Forestry Engineering.
ENVISION actively engages local, regional and national protected area managers, policy makers and businesses in research related to inclusive conservation through four site knowledge alliances and one inter-site knowledge alliance.

What are the site knowledge alliances?

Local land managers, protected area managers, and policy makers have detailed local and scientific knowledge about how to manage protected areas. In each study site, ENVISION will support a local knowledge alliance, made up of members who will be engaged in different parts of the research including interviews, focus groups, business breakfasts or policy toolkit design. Interested in being involved? Please contact christopher.raymond(at)

What is the inter-site knowledge alliance?

The inter-site knowledge alliance is an enthusiastic team of residents, protected area managers and industry groups that is committed to identifying more inclusive policies and approaches for improving the management of protected areas. The alliance is represented by stakeholders from our four study areas of Utrectse Heuverug and Kromme Rijn region (The Netherlands), Sierra de Guararrama National park (Spain), Vastra Harg (Sweden) and Denali National Park and Preserve (United States).  Also, it is represented by policy makers, advisors and protected area managers who work across Europe and the United States, each striving to create protected area management policies and strategies for improving biodiversity and human well-being.

What functions does the alliance have?

The inter-site knowledge alliance:
  • Provides insights on our inclusive approach to conservation to ensure it is relevant to and useable by protected area managers.
  • Recommends how our inclusive approach to conservation could be up-scaled from each study site into other protected area contexts in Europe and the United States.
  • Provides guidance to the ENVISION project team on current policy debates regarding post-2020 biodiversity conservation.
  • Connects the ENVISION team to key stakeholders interested in protected area management at the regional level, or across Europe and the United States. This includes connections to businesses who will be actively engaged in some of ENVISION’s events.
  • Review the ENVISION policy toolkit to ensure it is relevant to and useable by protected area managers.

How often does the alliance meet?

The alliance meets online every six months.  Additionally, alliance members will be invited to participate in ENVISION events, such as project meetings or business breakfasts, in different parts of Europe and the United States.