Looking beyond superficial knowledge gaps: Understanding public representations of biological diversity

Buijs, Arjen E.; Fischer, Anke; Rink, Dieter; Young, Juliette C.. 2008 Looking beyond superficial knowledge gaps: Understanding public representations of biological diversity. International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management, 4 (2). 65-80.

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The lack of public support for and protest against biodiversity management measures have often been explained by the seemingly insufficient knowledge of biodiversity held by the general public. In stark contrast to these assumptions of public ignorance, our results of focus group discussions in the Netherlands, Germany and Scotland show that members of the general public use very rich and complex representations of biological diversity to argue for particular approaches to biodiversity management. Within these representations, we identified important components such as (i) the functions and benefits associated with biodiversity, (ii) attributes and values connected to nature and (iii) views on the relationships between humans and nature. Notions within these components varied across individuals and groups and were closely linked to their views on biodiversity management in general and specific management measures in particular. This study illustrates how a better understanding of these representations and their links to public attitudes is crucial to ensure effective communication on biodiversity and improve public support for biodiversity management.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biodiversity > BD01 Conservation and Restoration of Biodiversity > BD01.4 Management of species and ecosystems
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Watt
Additional Keywords: Attitudes, biodiversity, nature, social representations, values, knowledge, general public, lay people
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 02 Mar 2009 12:51 +0 (UTC)

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