The Best Job in the Natural Capital Economy?

Winter 2024

In the midst of the emerging natural capital economy, a transformative prospect beckons for individuals committed to improving the environment, delivering positive impact and embracing a sense of adventure. The role of Estate Manager often synonymous with traditional sporting Estates or large-scale farming enterprises is changing, and from the shadows the most incredible opportunity is emerging.

Journey Towards Regenerative Land Management

The contemporary Estate Manager, positioned at the forefront of the natural capital economy, now oversees a portfolio that extends far beyond the traditional guns on the peg, sheep on the hill and a huge amount of tweed. This role has transformed into a strategic opportunity for professionals to contribute to sustainable practices and environmental conservation, marking perhaps the most pivotal shift in Estate Management in decades.

Expanded Responsibilities: In stark contrast to conventional estate management, the Estate Manager of the future will have a much wider set of skills and responsibilities. We hope this will attract a much more diverse range of applicants, who will expand the role through their own innovation, creating more elements of the role that will have profound positive ecological and social impact.

Ecosystem Management: As stewards of biodiversity, Estate Managers play a pivotal role in implementing comprehensive conservation programmes and wildlife management strategies. Collaborations with environmental experts are paramount to ensuring the sustainable coexistence of diverse flora and fauna within the estate’s boundaries. No longer will it be limited to few target species such as pheasant, grouse or stag, Instead, it will be about people and wildlife across the landscape.

Regenerative Agriculture:Where it is the right thing for the landscape, Estate Managers will be at the forefront of adopting and promoting regenerative farming practices. From championing organic farming methods to embracing conservation grazing. They will contribute to a legacy of responsible agriculture that harmonizes with the environment, recognising the interconnectedness of agricultural practices and ecosystem health.

Ecotourism Development: By developing and promoting ecotourism, Estate Managers will carefully balance the drive to welcome more people to the natural environment whilst ensuring its improvement and long-term protection. This extends beyond mere attractions, as they craft moonlight safaris and respectful wildlife watching, providing guests with immersive experiences, sharing their unique perspectives and knowledge to bring these experiences and places to life. This demonstrates the Estate’s natural beauty but also underscoring our commitment to conservation and experiential environmental education.

Community Engagement: Building meaningful partnerships with local communities (especially those that live on or immediately neighbouring a property) is integral to the contemporary Estate Manager’s role. They work collaboratively to create opportunities for consultation and two-way conversation, allowing neighbours to be active collaborators in the pursuit of ecological preservation. This is hugely important especially for the management of deer management in large upland landscapes, and for the control of invasive species which can only be successfully delivered at a catchment or landscape level and in partnership.

Purpose-Driven Leadership: Estate Managers find themselves at the forefront of our work to deliver positive environment and social impact; where each decision made is inextricably tied to the overarching goal of preserving and enhancing the environment. This elevated sense of purpose transforms daily tasks into a mission, contributing to a greater calling, that of saving a little of the world for the next generation.

Innovative Stewardship: The dynamic landscape of sustainability provides Estate Managers with a vast canvas for creativity. Experimentation with novel conservation initiatives becomes not just encouraged but essential, allowing for the implementation of vibrant and effective ecological practices that set benchmarks for the industry. As every Estate is different, the challenges and opportunities will vary. Towards the highlands of Scotland, the focus may be on bracken control, tree planting and deer management. Whereas in South West England, we need to work in partnership to rescue and recover precious areas of Atlantic rainforest and create a sensitive ecotourism experience that allows people to contribute towards their resurgence.

Holistic Connection with Nature: Immersed in a profound connection with the land, the challenges and triumphs of Estate Managers are rooted in the beauty and vitality of the ecosystems they protect. This intimate bond with the natural world becomes a source of constant inspiration, fuelling an enduring dedication to the cause of conservation and shaping their decision-making processes. This is not without its emotional challenges as often we will all be required to accept contradictions and compromises in our mission.

If we are to make conservation commercially viable, we may have to persist with current land use during a transition phase, as well as welcoming new ways of fuelling the rural economy that will almost certainly not be perfect, but will be progressive.

Global Environmental Impact: As leaders in the natural capital economy, Estate Managers find that their influence extends far beyond their immediate surroundings. They become (electric) torchbearers, setting an example for global environmental management. Their impact reaches beyond estate borders, contributing to a broader discourse on environmental sustainability that reverberates across industries and regions. We truly believe this country’s work on conservation and by extension the emergence of the natural capital economy will be our next greatest export.

Professional Opportunities Unearthed: For experienced professionals; seeking purposeful work but also innovative challenges and a profound connection with nature, the role of Estate Manager in the natural capital economy offers a unique and exhilarating career path, unrivalled in its potential impact. For early career professionals, the role of Estate Managers offers the most incredible entry point into the environment sector and a potential rocketship to future development and career progression. This will be the best job of the natural capital economy!


In the rapidly emerging Natural Capital economy, the role of Estate Managers offers an incredible opportunity, calling the bold, the brave and the adventurous – whether seasoned or early career professional – along a transformative and exciting career path. It is an opportunity to be genuinely involved in regenerative practices and environmental conservation, charting a course where responsibilities transcend mere management and become a strategic and purposeful endeavour.

As Estate Managers step into the forefront of this dynamic field, they become key players in shaping the future, where environmentally focused land management is not just a responsibility but a career and a calling. This professional evolution offers a unique and compelling path for those ready to answer the resounding call of progress in Estate Management, ushering in an era where purpose and impact intersect in our landscapes of profound significance.

Is the Role of Estate Managers set to be the best job in the Natural Capital Economy?

At Oxygen Conservation, absolutely!


Rich Stockdale
Managing Director