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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

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)



Recent publications and reports

Nikoleta Jones, James McGinlay, Angela Jones et al. (2021) COVID-19 and protected areas: Impacts, conflicts and possible management solutions, Conservation Letters, e12800


Vassilis Gkoumas, James McGinlay, Andreas Kontoleon, Nikoleta Jones (2021) National Park of East Macedonia and Thrace, Greece: Exploring local perceptions of the National Park and its social impacts. Fidelio report no. 4  


James McGinlay, Vassilis Gkoumas, Jens Holtvoeth et al. (2020) The Impact of COVID-19 on the management of European Protected Areas and Policy Implications, Forests, 11 (11) 1214


Jens Holtvoeth, Nikoleta Jones (2020) Eifel National Park: Exploring views of local residents on the National Park and the impact of COVID-19. Fidelio report no. 3


Jones N., Graziano M., Dimitrakopoulos P.G. (2020) Social impacts of European Protected Areas and policy recommendations. Environmental Science and Policy, 112, 134-140


Jones N., Malesios C., Kantargis A., Dimitrakopoulos P.G. (2020) The role of location and social impacts of Protected Areas on subjective wellbeing. Environmental Research Letters, In press


Jones N., McGinlay J. (2020). The impact of COVID-19 restrictions on local communities of Peak District National Park and management options during the pandemic. Fidelio Report no. 2