Minsmere RSPB Reserve, general view of Boomacre Mere

Local economies

Our research demonstrates the contribution our nature reserves have to the economies of the surrounding areas, above and beyond the benefits they offer to the health, education, and wellbeing of those who visit.

The case for conservation land use

The studies contained on this page add weight to the case for conservation land use and wildlife protection as integral parts of sustainable economic growth. 

Natural Foundations: Conservation and Local Employment in the UK examines the benefits RSPB nature reserves and other conservation work has within local economies across the UK.

Using a number of case studies, the report estimates that the reserve network supports around 1,872 jobs in communities local to reserves. It also assesses the impact the natural environment has on the UK economy as a whole and highlights the recent increasing trends in nature-related industries such as tourism.

The messages from this research show that conservation and local economic growth can go hand in hand.


Every local community should have a Minsmere. 

The reserve is attracting more than 80,000 visitors a year, who spend an estimated £8 million locally, supporting an impressive 66 local jobs. The reserve also directly employs 24 people and supports numerous local jobs through maintenance and development work on site. 

In total, Minsmere reserve supports more than 100 jobs in the surrounding communities. 

In addition to performing ecological functions and offering visitors and schools the chance to interact with the natural environment, the reserve forms an integral part of the local economy. This evidence builds on the arguments for community investment in similar sites across the UK.

 Minsmere RSPB reserve at dawn