Pacific Conservation Biology Pacific Conservation Biology Society
A journal dedicated to conservation and wildlife management in the Pacific region.
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Motivations for conservation action in peopled landscapes

D. F. Shanahan A C , J. E. Ledington A and F. J. F. Maseyk B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Centre for People and Nature, Zealandia, 31 Waiapu Road, Karori, Wellington, New Zealand.

B The Catalyst Group, PO Box 362, Palmerston North 4440, New Zealand.

C Corresponding author. Email: danielleshanahan@gmail.com

Pacific Conservation Biology - https://doi.org/10.1071/PC18010
Submitted: 24 January 2018  Accepted: 19 March 2018   Published online: 19 April 2018

Abstract

Urbanisation can drive wholesale change of ecosystems, and so biodiversity conservation action in these landscapes must overcome significant challenges. Despite this, councils and city residents invest significant resources into managing and promoting biodiversity in cities, often independently from wider-scale conservation objectives. In this paper we first examine biodiversity strategies from cities (Australia and New Zealand) and countries (Pacific Islands) to identify key ‘motivations’ for conservation action in peopled landscapes – this information is critical to guide how conservation planners can leverage effort in these spaces for broader conservation gain. We found that enhancing human well-being is a key motivator for biodiversity conservation in peopled landscapes; for example, 100% of strategies identified cultural ecosystem services as a key motivator. This trend reflects the importance of biodiversity in cities for people. This study raises a crucial question: what conservation outcomes might be possible from conservation action in cities where the key desired outcome is for people? We use two case studies to examine this question (threatened plant and threatened bird conservation in New Zealand cities), showing that conservation action in cities can deliver significant benefits that contribute to broader conservation objectives. We conclude that these benefits arise for several reasons: urban landscapes can leverage considerable people-power, the highly disturbed landscape can provide significant advantages for conservation action for some species, and enabling people to connect with nature and carry out conservation action can galvanise community effort for even greater conservation gain. If conservation planners can identify ways to leverage this effort for broader outcomes the results can be exceptional.

Additional keywords: biodiversity conservation, saddleback, threatened plants, urban nature, urbanisation


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