Governance explains variation in national responses to the biodiversity crisis

ZACHARY BAYNHAM-HERD, TATSUYA AMANO, WILLIAM J. SUTHERLAND, PAUL F. DONALD
  • Environmental Conservation, February 2018, Cambridge University Press
  • DOI: 10.1017/s037689291700056x

Good governance predicts good conservation

What is it about?

In response to declines in wildlife and natural resources, both individuals and countries have increasingly engaged with nature conservation. However, there are big differences in the extent to which individuals and countries have responded to this problem - 'the biodiversity crisis'. Here, we review different factors, such as wealth, age and experience which have been used to explain variation in environmentalism generally in both individuals and countries. We then asses whether any of these factors also explain variation between nation states in responses to and investment in the more specific area of biodiversity conservation.

Why is it important?

Currently, there is no single overriding theory to explain national-level variation in conservation responses. However, understanding what factors lead to positive conservation responses, at the country level, is important in informing policies and interventions that aim to proliferate such responses. Here, we find that the quality of governance explained substantially more variation in public and state investment in biodiversity conservation than did direct measures of wealth. Consequently, it might be profitable to consider governance levels when making decisions about where to prioritise conservation resources, and when making predictions for how successful conservation efforts might be in different places. Likewise, improving governance might be seen as a more effective aim (for conservation) than pursuing economic growth or wealth.

The following have contributed to this page: Zac Baynham-Herd

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