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FIDELIO (Forecasting Social Impacts of Biodiversity Conservation Policies in Europe) is a 5 year research project funded by the European Research Council (2019-2024, 1.5m euros)

Protected Areas are one of the key conservation tools and in Europe we have over 100,000 designated areas. Despite this large number, several of these Protected Areas are ineffective or exist only on paper. The FIDELIO project aims to explore why some Protected Areas are more effective than others setting at its core the unravelling of complexities in socio-ecological systems of Protected Areas and the important role of social impacts of these conservation policies.

The project is grounded on key theories of environmental sociology and environmental psychology capturing the interactions of society with the natural environment taking also into consideration more recent debates such as the 'nature contributions to people' argument.

During the project a large amount of qualitative and quantitative social data will be collected in 20 European Protected Areas aiming to:

  • understand the complexities of socio-ecological systems in Protected Areas across space and time

  • explore the key obstacles (from a socio-economic perspective) in achieving biodiversity conservation targets and

  • develop a guide on social impact assessment for European Protected Areas

COVID-19 update: We continue to explore the above issues but we are also now taking into considertion the impact that the pandemic has had on protected areas. Please read our dedicated page on the main menu of the project for updates.


This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (contract no. 802605)


Latest news


29 June 2020

740 respondents living inside or near Snowdonia National Park expressed their views on the social impacts of the National Park, the impact of COVID-19 on everyday life and potential options for managing the National Park during the pandemic. Report available in Welsh: snowdonia_final_report-welsh-29th_june_2020.pdf...

Data collection in Prespa National Park

17 June 2020

Data collection has just started in Prespa National Park, a transboundary wetland of international importance. Maria Nomikou from the University of the Aegean is currently in the Greek side of the park collecting data assessing social impacts of the protected areas for local communities. 3.jpg

Snowdonia National Park: Survey on social impacts and COVID-19

14 June 2020

Our questionnaire on social impacts of National Parks and COVID-19 is now being distributed at Snowdonia National Park. Just 10 days after initiating this survey we have been positively overwhelmed by the number of people who have taken the time to fill in the questionnaire and express their opinions. The survey will close...