Untangling perceptions around indicators for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services uri icon

abstract

  • Biodiversity indicators are commonly monitored to ensure the sustainable management of ecosystems and the conservation of multiple ecosystem goods and services. Indicators are important for tracking the ecological outcomes of conservation programmes, but they are also important in a wider context such as monitoring progress towards broader sustainability goals and serving to generate public support and funding for these programmes. Little attention is usually given to the social and cultural dimensions of biodiversity indicators. In this paper, using a discrete choice experiment, we compare the impact of within-species, between-species and within-ecosystem level biodiversity indicators on public preferences for conservation programmes in Spanish pine forests. Specifically we show that preferences towards conservation programmes are significantly affected by the interaction between indicators and their perceived role in delivering ecosystem services. Genetic variation, the number of invasive species and keystone elements were associated equally frequently with provisioning, regulating and cultural ecosystem services, whereas population structure, the number of native species and the area of land conserved were more variable in how they were associated with different ecosystem services. Our results highlight the importance of considering the perceived social relevance of indicators alongside their ecological suitability in the design of conservation programmes and monitoring.

publication date

  • 2019
  • 2019