The African Conservation Trust has recently formed the “Applied Ecology Unit”. The purpose of this team is to identify and implement biodiversity goals through an holistic approach that takes cognisance of social, economic and agricultural activities within ecological systems. The team’s primary focus, at this stage, is to examine possibilities to enlarge and connect existing protected areas in a manner that not only has local support but also enhances the well-being of local communities. As such, it forms a bridge between those working on protected area expansion strategies, stewardship processes and social-ecological issues. The Applied Ecology Unit will consist of both fulltime staff, employed by ACT, and associates, with specialist skills, from other organisations.