confoobio-stacked-logoResolving conflicts between food security and biodiversity conservation under uncertainty

Funded by an ERC Starting Grant to Nils Bunnefeld (2016-2021)

Postdocs: Dr Sarobidy RakotonarivoDr Jeremy CusackDr Brad Duthie

ConFooBio news

3rd July 2017: The first version of the Generalised Management Strategy Evaluation is available as an R package (“GMSE”). GMSE integrates game theory and ecological theory to construct social-ecological models that simulate the management of populations and stakeholder actions. These models build off of a previously developed management strategy evaluation (MSE) framework to simulate all aspects of management: population dynamics, manager observation of populations, manager decision making, and stakeholder responses to management decisions. The newly developed generalised management strategy evaluation (GMSE) framework uses genetic algorithms to mimic the decision-making process of managers and stakeholders under conditions of change, uncertainty, and conflict.


ConFooBio background

Conflicts between food security and biodiversity conservation are increasing in scale and intensity and have been shown to be damaging for both biodiversity and human livelihoods. Uncertainty, for example from climate change, decreases food security, puts further pressure on biodiversity and exacerbates conflicts.

ConFooBio proposes to develop management strategies for conflicts between biodiversity conservation and food security under uncertainty. ConFooBio will integrate game theory and social-ecological modelling to develop new theory to mitigate conservation conflicts. ConFooBio will implement a three-tiered approach 1) characterise and analyse 7 real-world conservation conflicts impacted by uncertainty; 2) develop new game theory that explicitly incorporates uncertainty; and 3) produce and test a flexible social-ecological model, applicable to real-world conflicts where stakeholders operate under conditions of extreme uncertainty. ConFooBio focuses on the following 7 case studies:



The project has importance for society at large because ecosystems and their services are central to human wellbeing. Managing a specific natural resource often results in conflict between those stakeholders focussing on improving food security and those focussed on biodiversity conversation. ConFooBio will illuminate new strategies to such conflicts by showing how to achieve synergies that protect biodiversity and secure livelihoods. This project will develop a practical, transparent and flexible model for the sustainable future of natural resources that is also robust to uncertainty (e.g., climate change). The project aims to be relevant for environmental negotiations among stakeholders with competing objectives from local to global (e.g. the negotiations to implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals).