Arguing for biodiversity in practice: a case study from the UK

Carmen, Esther; Watt, Allan; Young, Juliette. 2016 Arguing for biodiversity in practice: a case study from the UK. Biodiversity and Conservation.

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With a web of different local actors, often with different perspectives and interests, turning ideas into practice for biodiversity often involves communicating, negotiating, bargaining and, therefore, argumentation. Within this process arguments are selected by actors, to achieve their goals, with varying levels of effectiveness. We examine the use of arguments in UK national biodiversity policies and at the local level from the perspective of those putting forward and receiving arguments. We assess the positive and negative framings within arguments and the effectiveness of arguments. Using interviews and formal documents as sources of data, we analyse nine argumentative interactions from a case study in the Greater Manchester area in the UK. Our findings highlight differences between arguments in national biodiversity policy and those used at the local level. We also show a link between positive framing and salient arguments that were particularly effective. In more polarised, high conflict situations the credibility of the argument, specifically how well it aligned with policy frameworks, strongly influenced its effectiveness. These findings suggest that selecting arguments that identify common ground at the local level contributes to effective outcomes by highlighting areas of mutual benefit. Where this is not possible, a strong policy framework for the conservation of biodiversity is important. A combination of bottom up and top down approaches is most likely to provide effective arguments for biodiversity.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Watt
ISSN: 0960-3115
Additional Keywords: argument analysis, frame analysis, credibility, salience, multilevel governance, biodiversity policy
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 18 Apr 2017 11:50 +0 (UTC)

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