Why conserve biodiversity? A multi-national exploration of stakeholders´ views on the arguments for biodiversity conservation

Pam M. Berry, Veronika Fabók, Malgorzata Blicharska, Yennie K. Bredin, Marina García Llorente, Eszter Kovács, Nicoleta Geamana, Adina Stanciu, Mette Termansen, Tiina Jääskeläinen, John R. Haslett, Paula A. Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Given the concern about biodiversity loss, there are a number of arguments used for biodiversity conservation ranging from those emphasising the intrinsic value of biodiversity to those on the direct use value of ecosystems. Yet arguing the case for biodiversity conservation effectively requires an understanding of why people value biodiversity. We used Q methodology to explore and understand how different conservation practitioners (social and natural science researchers, environmental non-Governmental organisations and decision-makers) in nine European countries argue for conservation. We found that there was a plurality of views about biodiversity and its conservation. A moral argument and some arguments around the intrinsic and ecological value of biodiversity were held by all stakeholder groups. They also shared the view that species valuation does not justify the destruction of nature. However, there were also some differences within and between the groups, which primarily reflected the espousal of either ecocentric or anthropocentric viewpoints. Our findings suggest that moral arguments and those around biodiversity’s intrinsic and ecological value could potentially serve as a starting point for building consensus among conservation practitioners.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalBiodiversity and Conservation
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)1741–1762
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 04.07.2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Intrinsic value
  • Ecological value
  • Utilitarian value
  • Ecosystem services
  • Q-methodology
  • Conservation practitioners
  • 117,2 Environmental sciences


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