Luis Gerardo Sánchez Soto

Luis Gerardo Sánchez Soto


I am a PhD student in the Sustainability Research Institute, funded by the ESRC through the White Rose Social Sciences DTP programme. My project will explore how landscape-scale conservation strategies may affect, and by affected by, social, economic and cultural concerns in rural landscapes, and what specific mechanisms might be best suited to achieve effective and equitable conservation in practice.

I have a BSc in Engineering that led to professional experience in consulting and project management, and two masters on Environmental Sustainability and Social Research, respectively. My previous research focused on the potential implications of rewilding to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and the social implications of market-based agri-environmental schemes for conservation in English farmland. For my PhD, I will leverage my experience to take an interdisciplinary approach to understand the trade-offs and opportunities in the agriculture-conservation nexus in productive landscapes of the United Kingdom.

Research interests

  • Rural livelihoods
  • Environmental values
  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Agri-environmental policy

I’m interested in understanding what happens when largescale conservation strategies are deployed in productive rural landscapes. Beyond the expected biodiversity and food production effects, I’m particularly interested in the effects on the value that people derive from a landscape, and how this might change when new conservation strategies are introduced. A specific objective of the project is to combine data on social and cultural values with environmental and ecological data to provide realistic and relevant policy-relevant outputs.

I expect to focus on the effects of landscape scale conservation on farming economies, cultures and communities; and how multiple landholders can organise and distribute the benefits and costs of conservation in a productive landscape.

Another key area I hope to investigate through this project is how farmers’ perceptions of their livelihoods and relation to the land might shift and adapt to new landscape, social and economic realities, and their active role in shaping those realities as well.

The complex policy environment and diverse agricultural landscapes of the UK represent a very interesting environment to explore these topics. Additionally, recent trends have led to new projects focusing on landscape conservation, through which I hope to explore approaches that could deliver conservation fairly and efficiently.


  • MA Social Research, University of Leeds
  • MSc Environmental Sustainability, University of Edinburgh
  • BSc Industrial Engineering, Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico

Research groups and institutes

  • Sustainability Research Institute
  • Environment and Development
  • Economics and Policy for Sustainability