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Environmental Justice

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As human beings, access to nature is essential for our wellbeing. Land protection is one mechanism of creating and sustaining access to nature in societies, like that of the United States, where day-to-day life for most people is separated from nature by processes of urbanization and industrialization. In the United States, we collectively spend millions of public tax dollars each year on land conservation, yet the benefits of land conservation are not equally available to all members of the public. Disparities in access to the benefits of nature result from multiple forces, including systems of oppression operating in society and the motivations and information used to prioritize land for protection.

Traditionally, the mainstream land protection community has relied on data about non-human animals, plants, bedrock geology, soils, or the like to inform land conservation, with less focus on human conditions or needs. Our research aims to understand how approaching land protection through an environmental justice lens, thereby putting more emphasis on human concerns, could affect patterns of future land protection in New England, and the potential of land protection to improve equity in access to nature across the region.

Associated Researchers

Neenah Estrella-Luna (StarLuna Consulting)
Clarisse Hart
Danielle Ignace (University of British Columbia)
Lucy Lee
Jonathan Thompson
Kate Sims (UMass Amherst)

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