Event type
Science and Conservation Events
Previous Event
Event status
16 April 2024 9:15am - 5:30pm

A one-day summit focussing on strategic land use prioritisation in the midst of a triple planetary crisis.

The world is facing an unparalleled environmental crisis. In response to the overwhelming scientific consensus around the need to tackle the current biodiversity crisis and climate emergency, nations around the world have committed to significant action on climate and nature. For example, the UK has adopted the Environment Act, committing England to halt the decline in species by 2030. 

Catastrophic declines in biodiversity and rapid changes in climatic conditions are threatening food security, and expected to trigger mass movements in human populations, potentially impacting housing availability. Similarly, international tensions and conflicts are impacting economies around the world, leading in many situations to a cost-of-living crisis that has been particularly felt by the most vulnerable communities. 

Addressing these issues separately could lead to advocacy for diametrically different visions, hindering efforts towards securing a liveable, affordable, and biodiverse future for all. 

Ultimately, wider and more collaborative discourse is needed on how much land need be set aside for food production, energy production, housing and infrastructure, and nature. Discussion on the amount of land that need being allocated to various uses, as well as the spatial distribution of these allocations, will also be key to reaching a scenario in which outcomes are positive across the board, especially when it comes to biodiversity, for example, when considering the importance of connectivity for species viability. How agreement on these priorities is reached, and who facilitates their implementation, will be vital to consider as we tackle one of the biggest threats facing the UK today.

This Summit aimed to provide a platform for discussing the opportunities and challenges associated with biodiversity recovery in times of rapid global environmental changes, focusing on identifying strategic land use prioritisation for delivering mandated conservation outcomes within the UK, looking at England in particular as a case study. Speakers and delegates discussed land use prioritisation in light of other competing demands, while also accounting for interdependencies between the terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments.

View the schedule of talks, timings, and full programme in the drop-downs below.

Download the programme

Poster proposals

Scientific posters showcasing projects and/or research based on UK land use will be on display at the conference. 

Please note: Each poster must have at least one representative attending the event, who should purchase their ticket from this event page.

Submissions will be reviewed by the symposium organisers, and submitters will be notified as soon as possible following submission. Submitters will be responsible for their own poster printing and delivery to the venue.

The deadline for submission of poster proposals was 16th February 2024.

Cost and booking

Bookings closed on Sunday 14th April.

  • Full price ticket: £75
  • Student ticket: £45

Venue: Huxley Lecture Theatre at the Meeting Rooms of the Zoological Society of London, Regents Park, NW1 4RY. See map (number 2 on the Key). 
Travel: Nearest underground: Camden Town Station; Nearest bus: no. 274.
Recording disclaimer: The presentations and Q&A sessions will be filmed during this event. Please be aware that by attending this event you consent to be filmed or your voice to be recorded during the Q&A session, which will be included in the published video. 

ZSL Science and Conservation Events sustainability guidance can be found here.

Tickets include the price of refreshments and lunch. Full terms and conditions can be found here.

Programme and speakers

Please note this draft programme is subject to change. Details on additional speakers will be available on this page in due course.

9:15 Registration and refreshments

9:45 Opening words, Matthew Gould, ZSL

9:50 Introduction session: Contextualising nature recovery in the midst of multiple governmental priorities and visions

Chair: Professor Nathalie Pettorelli, ZSL

Professor Bridget Emmett, BES
David Hill, Defra
David Wagstaff, DESNZ
Joanna Averley, DLUHC

10:15 Session 1: Nature recovery and food

Chair: Georgina Chandler, ZSL

Dr Tara Garnett, University of Oxford
Professor Lynn Dicks, University of Cambridge
Dr Paul Behrens, Leiden University
Dr Jonny Wentworth, POST

11:15 Break and poster viewing

11:45 Session 2: Nature recovery and energy

Chair: Professor Bridget Emmett, British Ecological Society

Professor Jan Webb, University of Edinburgh
Victoria Copley and Alex Fawcett, Natural England
Professor Heiko Balzter, University of Leicester
Chris Stark, Climate Change Committee

12:45 Lunch and poster viewing

13:45 Session 3: Nature recovery and housing & infrastructure

Dr Peter Cruddas, University of Portsmouth
Professor Nick Hanley, University of Glasgow
Natalie Duffus, University of Oxford,
Cllr John McKay, South Hams Council

14:45 Break and poster viewing

15:15 Session 4: Bringing everything together: How do we do it?

Chair: Ben Spencer, Sunday Times

Dr Amy Thomas, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Dr Tom Finch, RSPB
Jane King, ZeroHour

16:00 Conclusions: What do we do next?

Chair: Dr Andrew Terry, ZSL

Professor Nathalie Pettorelli, ZSL & BES
Roger Mortlock, CPRE
Lucy Smith, Defra
Professor Tim Benton, Chatham House

16:40 Closing words, Matthew Gould, ZSL

16:50 Optional networking and poster viewing

Contact and venue information

The Summit will be held in the Huxley Lecture Theatre, ZSL, Outer Circle, London NW1 4RY. Nearest underground: Camden Town Station; Nearest bus: no. 274. You can view the Huxley Lecture Theatre on a map.

If you have any questions about your booking or attendance at this workshop, please email

This event is being organised in collaboration with the British Ecological Society. 

In addition to collaborating on this Land Use Summit, the BES are also running a symposium on Resilient Landscapes for People, Nature and Climate on 24-25 June at the University of Birmingham, organised in collaboration with the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Woodland Trust, WWF, RSPB, Natural England, Ecological Continuity Trust, and the National Trust.

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