WetlandLIFE is a project exploring the ecological, economic, social and cultural values associated with wetlands in England to better understand how to manage change into the future.
Wetlands have always been an integral part of our landscape. Expanding and reinstating wetlands can bring many benefits to people and wildlife, but can also create concerns for local communities. Healthy wetlands provide important ways to mitigate short and long term impacts of climate change and can bring multiple benefits to people, particularly in relation to health and exercise. However, wetland expansion can also cause anxiety as people see landscapes change around them. For some communities wetlands may be viewed with trepidation, as associations with bogs, marshes and swampy terrain are connected with unwelcome insects, particularly mosquitoes.
WetlandLIFE is an interdisciplinary project utilising a range of natural and social science research techniques, as well as approaches from the humanities and the arts, to understand some of these values of wetlands from both an historical and contemporary perspective. From 2016 - 2019 the project will study cultural, historic and economic aspects of English wetlands, alongside an ecological focus on mosquito management now and in the past. The overarching aim is to improve wetland management by delivering ecological guidance for managing insect populations, particularly mosquitoes, for healthy wetland environments, and to encourage the recreational use of wetlands to support the health and well being of local human populations.
This work is supported by the Natural Environment Research Council, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs under the Valuing Nature Programme (NERC grant reference number NE/NO13379/1).