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Navigating biodiversity conservation trade-offs in the social landscape: Understanding stakeholder perspectives and aspirations

Zielkonflikte bei der Erhaltung der biologischen Vielfalt in der sozialen Landschaft navigieren$dPerspektiven und Wünsche von Interessengruppen verstehen

  • The global loss of biodiversity has been widely studied, yet it has many different facets depending on the context. Key drivers for biodiversity loss are anthropogenic, including agricultural intensification, expansion and land abandonment. Though the loss of biological diversity is an ecological phenomenon, it also has a social dimension. This makes the study of the social landscape, encompassing the multitude of perspectives and aspirations by different stakeholders, highly relevant for better navigating trade-offs between biodiversity conservation and other land use objectives. Engaging with and addressing contextual understandings of biodiversity is vital to develop socially palatable solutions for biodiversity loss. This dissertation, therefore, takes a place-based approach to studying biodiversity conservation trade-offs and seeks to understand how the perspectives and aspirations of different stakeholders shape them. First, it aims to identify shared viewpoints as ensembles of perceptions and meanings about human-nature relations and biodiversity (research aim 1). Second, it aims to understand how biodiversity is valued and constructed in stakeholders’ aspirations towards their landscape (research aim 2). To this end, a convergent mixed methods approach and case study design are used. Two cases were selected that face different underlying drivers of land-use change, resulting in loss of biodiversity. The Muttama Creek Catchment area is a farming landscape in south-eastern Australia where the ongoing intensification of agricultural production threatens native biodiversity. In the Spreewald Biosphere Reserve in north-eastern Germany, land abandonment and the resulting loss of the biodiversity-rich wet meadows presents a key challenge for biodiversity conservation. Narratives and discourses provide conceptual lenses through which I study biodiversity conservation trade-offs. Drawing on Q-methodology, this dissertation identifies biodiversity-production discourses for the first case study and cultural landscape narratives for the second case study. Moreover, based on a participatory futures approach, the Three Horizons Framework, it elicits narratives of change that highlight opportunities for biodiversity conservation in farming landscapes. The findings highlight that despite some overlap in how stakeholders perceive biodiversity, contrasting problem framings and different biodiversity priorities present hindrances to concerted action to protect biodiversity and for collaboration (research aim 1). The findings also identify shared values among stakeholders (research aim 2). However, there is polarity and contestation around the role and importance of biodiversity in rural development. In conclusion, the findings contribute to three key themes in sustainability science and conservation debates: (1) They support calls for more inclusive and pluralistic biodiversity governance and highlight the need to engage holistically with multiple trade-offs with biodiversity conservation. (2) The empirical findings highlight the potential for stewardship as a broad value for place-based actions and biodiversity disvalues as another realm of engagement to improve conservation outcomes. (3) This dissertation demonstrates how a participatory approach helped identify opportunities for change and supported collective sensemaking about current issues and ways forward. Arts-based research is suggested as an avenue for future research to engage with different ways of knowing and thinking. In conclusion, this dissertation highlights how people value biodiversity differently based on their relative perspectives, the role of biodiversity in aspirations for the future and what this means for governing the transformative changes needed to address the issue of biodiversity loss.

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Author:Tamara Schaal-LagodzinskiORCiDGND
URL: https://pub-data.leuphana.de/frontdoor/index/index/docId/1365
Advisor:Julia Leventon (Prof.in Dr.in)
Referee:Julia Leventon (Prof.in Dr.in)ORCiD, Jan Hanspach (Dr.)ORCiDGND, Claudia Bieling (Prof. Dr.)ORCiDGND
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Year of Completion:2023
Date of Publication (online):2024/01/05
Date of first Publication:2024/01/09
Publishing Institution:Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, Universitätsbibliothek der Leuphana Universität Lüneburg
Granting Institution:Leuphana Universität Lüneburg
Date of final exam:2023/11/01
Contributing Corporation:CZECHGLOBE Global Change Research Institute, CAS
Release Date:2024/01/09
Das Dissertationsprojekt wurde außerdem vom CZECHGLOBE
Global Change Research Institute, CAS mitbetreut. 
Das Rahmenpapier der kumulativen Dissertation enthält 3 Fachartikel
Institutes:Fakultät Nachhaltigkeit / Social-Ecological Systems Institute (SESI)
Dewey Decimal Classification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 33 Wirtschaft / 333.7 Natürliche Ressourcen, Energie und Umwelt
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht