Mrs Katherine Needham

  • Research Associate (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health & Comparative Medicine)

Research interests

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My principal research interest is the application of economic techniques to conservation and environmental management. Current research focusses on the application of biodiversity offset markets to wetland areas, including how best these markets can be designed and which are the most suitable ecological indicators for use in trading. I also have a keen interest in the application of stated preference methods to assist in the management of ecosystems and their associated services. Previously I have used stated preference methods to assess the management of deep-sea ecosystem services under future blue growth. My PhD thesis explored methodological issues associated with information provision and learning in contingent valuation surveys. In addition, I have practical experience in marine and coastal zone management, in particular, the EU Habitats and Wild Birds Directives in industrial estuaries.

Current project: Leverhulme Trust funded project “Biodiversity offset markets for wetland conservation.”

  • Project aim: Determine what design features of a biodiversity offset market impact performance and cost-effectiveness of the tool to achieve a given level of biodiversity.
  • The project is investigating the potential of biodiversity offset markets in the UK coastal zone, using the analytical tools of economic and ecological modelling. Using lessons from the economic and ecological literature, and recent experience in the USA from both biodiversity offsetting and markets for tradeable pollution permits, we are developing an exemplar framework for offsetting in the coastal zone which can then be applied to other ecosystems within the UK and worldwide. This framework will identify key “design parameters” crucial to maximising the ecological and economic performance of a market for biodiversity offsets. The framework will then be used to develop a generalizable simulation model of offset markets, which will then be implemented for two case study areas in the UK.

PI: Nick Hanley (University of Glasgow). Also involved: Frans de Vries (University of Stirling), Martin Dallimer (University of Leeds) and Paul Armsworth (University of Tennessee).