Is nature conservation working? Watch or read Julia Jones’s inaugural lecture

Julia Jones (center) among the professors that were present during the lecture.
Julia Jones (center) among the professors that were present during the lecture.

Julia Jones’s inaugural lecture as holder of the Prince Bernhard Chair for International Nature Conservation can now be viewed and read online. Jones is renowned for her work on the effectiveness of nature conservation measures. In her lecture, she spoke about how the evaluation of conservation measures can be advanced to improve the outcomes for people and nature.

Jones’s primary position is as Professor of conservation science at Bangor University in Wales. Her ultimate research aim is to make conservation more effective and equitable.

Jones: "In conservation, you want to know if a certain policy worked, and if it delivered what it was expected to deliver. However, this is surprisingly difficult, since most of the outcomes are longer-term, much longer than the timescale of conservation projects."

Effectiveness of interventions

In her research, Jones has evaluated a wide range of conservation interventions, from protected areas and carbon trading mechanisms for forests, to biodiversity offsetting. Much of her work focuses on Madagascar, where she has worked for 20 years on issues around conservation and development.

During her five-year tenure as Prince Bernhard Chair , Jones wants to work with nature conservation practitioners to improve how they measure the effectiveness of their work. Jones: "This position gives me the opportunity to open up a whole new network of expertise at Utrecht University. But it also works as a springboard for new collaborations in the rest of the Netherlands."

Social aspect of conservation

Jones also hopes to bring more recognition for the social aspects of conservation into conservation teaching at Utrecht. Jones: "Conservation can bring costs to local people, if it prevents them from carrying out their normal livelihood activities. For instance, forest conservation, without sufficient thought given to local people, can mean some of the poorest people on the planet are left bearing the cost of tackling climate change."

Prince Bernhard Chair

The Prince Bernhard Chair for International Nature Conservation was established in 1987 on the occasion of the 75th birthday of His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard (1911-2004), in recognition of his role in international nature conservation. The chair is embedded in the Ecology & Biodiversity research group at Utrecht University.

Video and report online now

Julia Jones gave her inaugural lecture ‘Is conservation working’ Advancing impact evaluation to improve outcomes for people and nature. ’ on 12 December 2022. In addition to the video, the lecture is also available as a report , produced in collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) .