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Why protect biodiversity? Perspectives of conservation professionals in Poland

Why protect biodiversity? Perspectives of conservation professionals in Poland International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management, 2015 Vol. 11, No. 4, 349–362, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21513732.2015.1050969 a,b, a Malgorzata Blicharska * and Ulf Grandin Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 7050, SE 750 07, Uppsala, Sweden; Swedish Biodiversity Centre, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 7007, SE 750 07, Uppsala, Sweden (Submitted 23 October 2014; accepted 11 May 2015; edited by Berta Martín-López) There are numerous strategies to reverse biodiversity decline, ranging from economic, through ecological, to ethical ones. Which arguments are used in the conservation may have bearing on the actual implementation of biodiversity policies. To understand conservation professionals’ perceptions of biodiversity is particularly important in the countries in transition, where the new environmental policies are being implemented, the approaches to governance are changing and new biodiversity discourses are emerging. This study investigates what the biodiversity conservation professionals in Poland believe the rationale behind conservation is. We reveal two main perspectives – one focused on intrinsic value of biodiversity and one underlining its utilitarian value. Even if the intrinsic value perspective prevails, the economic framing of biodiversity value is emerging. This framing is important in the face of the ongoing changes in Poland with focus on economic development and relatively little attention paid to biodiversity. The utilitarian approach to conservation, reinforced by the concept of ecosystem services, can be used to supplement the emerging biodiversity discourse strengthening the conservation case. The richness of perspectives among the conservation professionals can facilitate deliberate construction of the new conservation discourse in Poland combining the notion of intrinsic value of nature with the utilitarian approach. Keywords: biodiversity professionals; ecosystem services; intrinsic value; perceptions; utilitarian value 1. Introduction policies. Presence of perspectives that are in strict conflict with each other may lead to problems in policies’ and Biodiversity loss has been on international policy agenda management guideline’s implementation due to tensions for several decades now, yet the accelerating decline (MA between fundamental values and beliefs (Emtage & 2005) has not been stopped and we still face many chal- Herbohn 2012; Wolfe 2012). Similarly, professionals lenges regarding biodiversity conservation (Pimm et al. working with biodiversity in different sectors may assign 1995; Stokstad 2010). There are numerous strategies to different priority to different issues, like, for example, in reverse the biodiversity decline, ranging from economic, the case of conflict between conservation and agricultural through ecological, to ethical (Rands et al. 2010). Both the activities (Henle et al. 2008). rationale for biodiversity conservation action and its suc- As the successful realization of conservation goals to cess vary greatly, depending on the paradigms represented great extent depends on conservation professionals, i.e. by various professionals in charge of conservation, as well people at different governance levels who work with as social-cultural and political context (Wilshusen et al. implementing biodiversity policies in practice (representa- 2002; Waylen et al. 2010). The value of biodiversity has tives of authorities and NGOs as well as scientists), it is been also framed in different terms, ranging from purely important to know how they perceive biodiversity and the intrinsic to different kinds of assigned values, including reasons behind its conservation. There have been rela- use and non-use instrumental values (Ehrlich & Ehrlich tively many studies scrutinizing the perceptions of biodi- 1992; Raffaelli et al. 2009). Likewise, the arguments for versity and its values among people not professionally biodiversity conservation have varied depending on the involved in nature conservation. In particular, representa- underlying reasons for maintaining biodiversity in general. tions, images and visions of nature (Van Den Born et al. Some authors argue that demonstrating the economic 2001; Buijs et al. 2008, 2012), landscape-type preferences values of biodiversity is the only way to go, as people (De Groot & Vanden Born 2003), preferences for biodi- need concrete incentives to engage in action reversing versity-related values (Qiu et al. 2013) and people’s men- biodiversity loss (e.g. Pearce 2001). Others argue that tal constructs of biodiversity (Fischer & Young 2007) have market-based conservation leads to selling out on nature been investigated. However, the studies concerning the and advocate return to focusing on the intrinsic values way in which professionals working with conservation (e.g. McCauley 2006; Soulé 2013). perceive biodiversity and its values are rather sporadic. Which arguments are used and how they are incorpo- In a rare study of such values, Sandbrook et al. (2011) rated in the general conservation discourse may have investigated plurality of values among international bearing on the actual implementation of biodiversity *Corresponding author. Email: malgorzata.blicharska@slu.se © 2015 Taylor & Francis 350 M. Blicharska and U. Grandin conservation professionals and concluded that they did not think about what rationale behind biodiversity conserva- share any core values, but instead held a complex set of tion is. We discuss the potential role of their perspectives ideas and opinions about biodiversity. Fisher and Brown in constructing new conservation discourse in a young EU (2014) looked into how professionals working with con- member state. servation use and interpret the notion of ecosystem ser- vices, revealing concerns over the utilitarian thinking that permeates this concept and the instrumental approach in 2. Methods adopting it. However, they also conclude that ecosystem services concept may provide a common language to The Q-methodology was initially developed as a tool for integrate conservation with other sectors. psychological research. However, it has been used in While there are few studies on the conservation profes- many different fields, including environmental studies, sionals’ perceptions of biodiversity of the old European for example, to investigate perspectives on forest manage- Union (EU) countries, the new EU member states seem to ment (Steelman & Maguire 1999), tiger conservation be even less investigated with regard to this issue. In the (Rastogi et al. 2013), global environmental change light of the ongoing changes that these countries face, both (Niemeyer et al. 2005), environmentally adapted manage- in terms of economic development and implementation of ment practices in agriculture (Bumbudsanpharoke et al. EU policies, knowledge on the existing perspectives on 2010), conservation discourses (Cairns et al. 2014)or biodiversity conservation may help shed light on the rea- good participation process (Webler et al. 2001). sons behind conservation and assist shaping the new dis- In the Q-methodology, each participant is given a set course on biodiversity, facilitating efficient implementation of statements that he/she orders (sorts) on a Q-chart of new domestic policies. In this paper, we reveal the (Figure 1), from the statements he/she agrees most with perspectives on biodiversity conservation present among to the statements he/she agrees least with (sorting of the professionals that work with biodiversity in Poland by statements by a participant is called a ‘Q-sort’). using a Q-methodology (Webler et al. 2009). The Q-meth- Quantitative analysis of the Q-sorts aids to find patterns odology was originally developed by William Stephenson in opinions across participants. This is complemented with (Stephenson 1935) as a tool to assess individuals’ attitudes qualitative interviews conducted during Q-sorts to create and perspectives. The method enables the researcher to narratives representing different opinions/perspectives. reveal patterns in underlying value systems of individuals The methodological details of the Q-method have been and groups (Gruber 2011). The aim is not to reveal ‘the described by several authors (e.g. Brown 1993; Webler facts’ but to study subjective opinions on a topic of interest et al. 2009). In the following, we focus mainly on the (Brown 1993). The strength of the Q-methodology is that it details specific to our study. First, we selected a set of combines both statistical analysis and qualitative interpreta- statements that made up a concourse, based on the body of tion that leads to increased reliability and validity of the literature on the arguments for biodiversity conservation results (Bumbudsanpharoke et al. 2010). emerging from a comprehensive literature review on dif- Poland is the largest post-communist country (both in ferent arguments for conservation that was conducted terms of area and human population) that entered the EU within the BESAFE project (Biodiversity and Ecosystem after 2000 and has since then been subject to European Services: Arguments for our Future Environment; http:// biodiversity legislation. Presently, over decade after the www.besafe-project.net/) and will be published elsewhere accession, Poland still faces numerous development chal- (Howard et al., unpublished data). Different rationales for lenges. Because of the focus on economic development biodiversity conservation that emerged from the literature of the country, biodiversity conservation is still not at the review were represented by 180 initial statements that centre of public attention (Blicharska et al. 2011; could be roughly divided into seven categories: economic Niedziałkowski et al. 2013), even if all relevant policies arguments, biophilia (i.e. based on the premise that there is are officially implemented. At the same time, the level of an instinctive bond between human beings and other liv- acceptance of new policies in Poland, likewise in the ing systems) arguments, utilitarian (non-economic) argu- other new EU member states, is still relatively low ments, aesthetic arguments, intrinsic value arguments, (Grodzińska-Jurczak & Cent 2011) and thus the imple- ecosystem integrity/function arguments and ecosystem ser- mentation of biodiversity policies often leads to conflicts, vice arguments. The initial 180 statements were reviewed like it was, for example, in the case of the Natura 2000 and reduced to a final set of 42 final statements (Table 1). network implementation (Kluvánková-Oravská et al. When selecting the final 42 statements, attention was paid 2009; Paavola et al. 2009;Grodzińska-Jurczak & Cent to retain statement representing each of the argument 2011). categories, to have statements that would be easily under- Poland’s biodiversity is relatively rich compared to standable and meaningful for the participants and that other EU countries (Oleksyn & Reich 1994; Plut 2000), would allow for slightly different interpretations by differ- and therefore the need for the effective strategies that ent people. The statements were also selected to represent combine economic development with conservation goals topics that all participants were likely to have opinions to protect the remaining biodiversity is of particular impor- about. The statements taken from the literature were edited tance. In our study, we reveal how professionals in Poland to be understandable even if read out of context. Finally, to International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 351 Why invest in biodiversity conservation? My personal thoughts and beliefs about the value of biodiversity conservation 25 30 19 15 7 6 34 36 35 29 32 38 23 13 9 39 5 41 18 27 20 24 31 37 2 10 11 8 12 26 1 22 17 40 16 14 28 33 4 21 3 –4 –3 –2 –1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4 Least like I think Most like I think Figure 1. Q-chart with an example of a Q-sort from perspective 1 (sort 10), where all the statements (numbered from 1 to 42) are sorted on the scale from ‘most like I think’ to ‘least like I think’. get acceptance and to ensure that the statements were (see above) and statements that were both positively and understood all were translated into Polish. negatively framed (Kamal et al. 2014). All the statements In the Q-methodology, it is recommended to have fewer are provided in Table 1, together with their z-scores and participants than statements used. Usually a ratio 3:1 is ranks for each factor. Z-scores represent measures of how recommended (Webler et al. 2009). For our 42 statements, far a statement lies from the middle of a distribution of we selected 16 participants. The participants were profes- statements typical for a particular factor and thus can be sionals working with biodiversity conservation (see supple- used to show which particular statements are most impor- mental data), including authorities’ representatives, NGO tant for describing particular factor (Webler et al. 2009). representatives and scientists (representing both natural The participants were asked to sort the statements and social sciences). All participants were selected through written on small cards into the Q-chart (Figure 1) accord- judgement sampling (Marshall 1996) and contacted by ing to their personal thoughts and views having the ques- email and/or telephone. In case of authorities, a head of tion ‘Why to invest in biodiversity conservation?’ in mind. particular unit was contacted, while in case of researchers or The participants sorted the statements on a scale from NGOs, particular person of interest was contacted. Main ‘most like I think’ (+4) to ‘least like I think’ (−4). At the selection criterion was that all participants should work same time, the participants were encouraged to think aloud professionally with biodiversity conservation and thus be and discuss their choices with the interviewer. The inter- well acquainted with this topic. Compared to other quanti- views were audio-recorded and the participants were tative methodologies, Q-methodology requires relatively assured of the anonymity of both the sorts and the record- small sample of respondents because the aim in a Q-study ings. Each interview/sort took from ca. 40 minutes to 1.5 is to focus on what are the particular perspectives and not hour. The interviews were conducted in April to June how many people express these perspectives (Brown 1996). 2013. The quotes from the interviews were used to In the Q-methodology, the respondents are ‘dependent vari- cross-check the results of the quantitative analysis. ables’ (in quantitative method’s terminology), and the Q- Particular fragments of the interviews are also quoted to statements are ‘independent variables’, representing a wide support the findings presented in the results section. spectrum of ideas (Kamal et al. 2014). Thus, a Q-study does The quantitative analysis was conducted using free not describe a population of people expressing particular software PQMETHOD program written by Peter views, but instead it describes a population of viewpoints or Schmolck (http://schmolck.userweb.mwn.de/qmethod/ perspectives (Van Exel & De Graaf 2005). Because of this index.htm#PQMethod). First, a factor analysis was con- inherent structure, there is a need for assuring that a set of ducted using principal component analysis (PCA) algo- statements is representative, i.e. includes all important rithm in order to identify which Q-sorts (particular claims in the relevant topic. This was done by including sortings by individual participants) clustered together. As in the concourse statements from each argument category a result, eight different factors, representing different 352 M. Blicharska and U. Grandin Table 1. The Q-statements used in the study, their z-scores and scores for particular statements for each factor (Q-SV). Factors 12 34 No. Statement Z-score Q-SV Z-score Q-SV Z-score Q-SV Z-score Q-SV 1 We do not know how ecosystems will be affected by the 0.783 1 0.754 1 −0.701 −2 0.000 0 loss of species, therefore we better preserve them. 2 Protecting ecosystem service providers is important because −0.414 −1 1.616 4 0.210 0 0.006 0 they are a source of economic value. 3 The ecosystem service approach has potential to −0.224 −1 1.193 2 1.074 2 0.272 1 improve species conservation in Europe. 4 Biodiversity conservation is not a moral matter. −0.341 −1 −0.848 −1 −1.002 −2 −0.272 1 5 Some species are important symbols of human −0.003 0 −0.280 0 0.000 0 0.556 1 values, such as freedom. 6 Species are priceless. 0.496 1 −0.271 0 −0.792 −2 −1.887 −4 7 The reason biodiversity matters is because it confers 0.451 1 −0.894 −1 0.164 0 −1.349 −3 on us an imprecise, immeasurable well-being that is located in the spirit rather than in the wallet. 8 The extinction of a species is like the 0.122 1 −1.119 −2 0.000 0 −1.881 −4 destruction of a great work of art. 9 It is not clear why all species that −1.504 −3 −0.497 −1 −0.655 −2 0.266 0 environmentalists campaign to conserve ought to be saved. 10 Protecting biodiversity and ecosystem services is particularly −0.659 −2 0.854 2 0.910 2 −0.272 −1 important for poverty alleviation in developing countries. 11 Conserving genetic diversity is important to feed future −0.455 −2 1.410 3 1.329 3 −0.272 −1 human populations. 12 Countries can benefit from their conservation efforts −0.195 0 1.307 3 0.210 0 −0.810 −2 through tourism. 13 Nature provides us with many valuable experiences. −0.432 −1 0.444 1 1.657 4 2.153 4 We hunt, fish, hike, mountain climb, and engage in numerous activities in which we interact with nature. 14 Losing its biological richness and diversity, the world loses its magic. −0.087 0 −0.904 −2 0.373 1 −0.012 0 15 It is important to conserve the genetic reservoir −0.005 0 1.641 4 0.537 1 1.071 2 in a region, in case we need to breed disease-resistant plants or produce food adapted to local conditions. 16 We want to experience areas where humans −0.773 −2 −1.399 −4 0.373 1 0.278 1 are merely visitors and not inhabitants. 17 Most species are superfluous. −2.337 −4 −2.198 −4 −2.148 −4 −2.153 −4 18 We value some species for their beauty, but this is only 0.948 2 0.738 1 −0.419 −1 0.804 2 relevant for a very small number of species. Therefore, beauty is not a particularly important basis for conservation. 19 We do not need to recognize other beings as our moral equals 1.028 2 0.262 0 −1.611 −3 −0.260 0 to realize that we should not kill that which is not a threat. 20 All species have a right to exist, regardless of their ability to benefit humans. 1.763 4 0.068 0 1.028 2 −0.006 0 International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 353 21 Nature is a laboratory for the pursuit of science through which 1.126 3 0.576 1 1.284 3 1.064 2 society gains knowledge, and understanding of the world. 22 The diversity of life is something like the rivets on 1.680 4 1.454 3 0.328 1 −0.006 0 an airplane, with each species playing a small but significant role in the working of the whole. The loss of each rivet weakens the plane by a small but noticeable amount – until it loses airworthiness and crashes. 23 Nature provides a place to take calculated risks, −0.085 0 −0.086 0 0.000 00 −0.266 −1 to learn the luck of the weather, to lose and find one’s way, to reflect on success and failure. 24 Even if only a few species are needed for our world to be productive 0.973 2 0.279 0 −0.537 −1 0.538 1 we have to conserve more species as a back-up. Otherwise a pest or climate change could wipe out the few species we have saved, and we would have nothing in reserve. 25 Pristine nature is valuable in itself. 0.650 1 0.341 0 2.148 4 1.349 3 26 Ecosystems have co-evolved with humans creating −0.290 −1 0.619 1 0.583 1 1.343 3 landscapes of important cultural value. 27 Any effort to conserve biodiversity must be −1.150 −3 0.861 2 −0.373 −1 0.550 1 limited by considerations of other values such as freedom, equality, health and justice. 28 Destroying nature is like burning unread books. 0.203 1 −0.922 −2 −0.373 −1 −0.810 −2 29 Valuing species in economic terms implies a −1.371 −3 −1.460 −4 0.583 1 −0.798 −1 justification for the destruction of the biosphere. 30 Nature produces works of grace which please the eye. 0.089 0 −0.346 −1 1.284 3 1.343 3 31 Species survival ultimately depends on large numbers 1.777 4 0.929 2 0.865 2 −0.816 −2 of other species. 32 Nature provides the profoundest −0.658 −2 −1.267 −3 −0.373 −1 −1.064 −3 historical museum of all. 33 Species extinction reduces possibilities for future generations. 1.200 3 0.346 1 −0.537 −1 −0.810 −2 34 The knowledge of the mere existence of species is valuable, 0.848 2 0.428 1 −1.074 −3 1.621 4 even if it is certain that I will never experience them in situ. 35 Genetic diversity is good because each −0.385 −1 −0.632 −1 −0.328 0 0.272 1 particular species represents the success of generations of evolutionary trial and error. 36 Biodiversity is an unqualified good, i.e. 1.439 3 −1.064 −2 −0.091 0 −0.822 −2 biodiversity is good no matter what. 37 Humans are morally permitted to extinguish −2.337 −4 −1.147 −3 −2.148 −4 −1.071 −3 any species harmful to human survival. 38 We can’t aim to conserve biodiversity in all its aspects. −0.380 −1 0.042 0 −1.238 −3 0.266 0 Instead, we have to make choices about increasing, maintaining, or even diminishing biodiversity in particular circumstances. 39 As nature is always changing there is −0.180 0 −1.177 −3 −1.611 −4 1.609 4 no point in conserving a fixed ecosystem state. 40 Species extinctions are not necessarily bad. −1.634 −4 −0.515 −1 −0.491 −1 0.816 2 41 Nature and its diversity make our lives meaningful. −0.154 0 −0.830 −1 1.611 4 −0.804 −1 42 The earth’s biodiversity should be conserved 0.478 1 1.690 4 −0.210 0 0.266 0 because genetic diversity may be valuable in the development of new drugs against disease. 354 M. Blicharska and U. Grandin perspectives, were created. The factors were then rotated mankind [20]. The participants explained: ‘The human using Varimax algorithm, to find the simplest structure in being is not the most important being on the Earth and the data while aiming to explain as much of the variance has no moral right to decide about the life of other as possible. We selected the optimal number of factors by, beings... (...)inanideal world all speciesshould first considering the eigenvalues (choosing factors with exist’ (participant 6); ‘this is exactly what biodiversity eigenvalues above 1; Webler et al. 2009), and then check- is about, that not necessarily everything need to give us ing if the resulting perspective made sense in terms of some benefits’ (participant 11). One of the participants clearness and interpretability of results (Kamal et al. also underlined the time perspective, claiming that ‘all 2014). It became apparent that four of the eight factors species have right to exist, regardless their ability to (perspectives) worked best to interpret the range of per- benefit, meaning provide benefits “now”;iftheydonot spectives. As the rotation resulted in one perspective (per- provide now, it does not mean that they will not provide spective 3) of bipolar character (i.e. where participants placed in the future’ (participant 8). Q-statements representing some particular perspectives on The representatives of this perspective did not think opposite sides of the Q-chart, thus representing directly that humans were morally permitted to extinguish any opposing views), one Q-sort (3) was removed from the species harmful to human survival [37], and called this a final analysis, to avoid interpretational problems. However, ‘utilitarian point of view’ (participant 8) or ‘very subjec- some insights from this particular sort are included when tive and utilitarian [approach]’ (participant 8). One parti- perspective 3 is presented to illustrate the bipolar character cipant added ‘I associate that with religions that show that of this perspective. Additionally, one Q-sort (14) represented humans are above all other species and have a right to truly hybrid views (was not significantly associated with decide what may live and what may not, this does not any of the particular factors/perspectives) and was thus really reflects my morality’ (participant 6). not included in the final analysis. To sum up, 14 indi- Additionally, biodiversity was seen as a whole, where vidual Q-sorts were used in the final analysis. each small piece was important for the whole system [22], where species survival ultimately depended on large num- bers of other species [31] and where there was a need to 3. Results keep more species than seemed to be enough for produc- The factor analysis reduced and summarized the complex tivity just now, as a backup in the face of future changes and high-dimensional results of the interviews down to four [24]. This reflected long-time perspective thinking, as ‘we dimensions, or factors, each, representing the main perspec- would have nothing in reserve to replace the species that tives on biodiversity conservation rationale that emerged we would lose due to some decision regarding present from the Q-analysis. The PCA factors will hereafter be benefits’ (participant 8). Additionally, nature was also referred to as perspectives. Together the four perspectives perceived as a laboratory for the pursuit of science and explained 67% of the total variance among 14 out of 16 of the understanding [21], as something that can give us ‘values Q-sorts (two sorts were not included in the factor analysis). (. . .) that can bring us some development, we can learn Perspective 1 was defined by six Q-sorts, perspective 2 by something from them, from nature, or get some ideas from four, while perspectives 3 and 4 by two sorts each. The it’ (participant 10). correlations between perspective 1 and 3 (0.2834), P1 and What significantly distinguished perspective 1 from P4 (0.1148), as well as P3 and P4 (0.2901), were relatively other perspectives (Table 2) was that the participants low, while correlations between perspectives 1 and 2 valued biodiversity as an unqualified good, i.e. as some- (0.4044), P2 and P3 (0.3613) and P2 and P4 (0.3843), were thing that was good no matter what [36], ‘independent of higher. The composite reliabilities for the perspectives were our understanding of its current utility, and all that what relatively high (0.960 for P1; 0.941 for P2; 0.889 for P3; we think about it now’ (participant 8), also reflecting the 0.889 for P4), which indicates that if the study would be intrinsic value of biodiversity. This was also the only repeated similar perspectives would emerge. perspective in which species were to some extent consid- In the following section, we describe the particular ered priceless (z-score 0.496). According to this perspec- perspectives, based on the quantitative Q-analysis and tive, extinctions of species were definitely something bad supported by the interview material. Number in [] indi- [40] and reduced possibilities for future generations [33], cates the number of a statement. For each quote from an however not necessarily economic possibilities, but also interview, a number of the participant is indicated (for a other utility values: ‘for example if Great Snipes get list of participants, see supplementary material). extinct, then the next generation will never be able to learn about their biology and beauty and what is special for this species, what they contribute with’ (partici- 3.1. Perspective 1: biodiversity as an unqualified good; pant 11). nature as an ecological system The participants also did not think that biodiversity Participants representing this perspective focused on an conservation should be constrained by considerations of intrinsic value of biodiversity and defined biodiversity as other, human-related, values like freedom, equality, health an unqualified good. They believed that all species had and justice [27], even if one of the participants said: right to exist, even if they have no clear benefit for ‘maybe it must be, but this is such an empty argument. . . International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 355 Table 2. Statements distinguishing factors 1 to 4 (P < 0.05). Factor 1 Factor 2 Factor 3 Factor 4 No. Statements Z-score Q-SV Z-score Q-SV Z-score Q-SV Z-score Q-SV Distinguishing statements for factor 1 31 Species survival ultimately depends on large numbers of other species. 1.777* 4 0.929 2 0.865 2 −0.816 −2 36 Biodiversity is an unqualified good, i.e. biodiversity is good no matter what. 1.439 3 −1.064 −2 −0.091 0 −0.822 −2 33 Species extinction reduces possibilities for future generations. 1.200* 3 0.346 1 −0.537 −1 −0.810 −2 19 We do not need to recognize other beings as our moral equals to realize that 1.028 2 0.262 0 −1.611 −3 −0.260 0 we should not kill that which is not a threat. 6 Species are priceless. 0.496 1 −0.271 0 −0.792 −2 −1.887 −4 39 As nature is always changing there is no point in conserving a fixed ecosystem state. −0.180* 0 −1.177 −3 −1.611 −4 1.609 4 26 Ecosystems have co-evolved with humans creating landscapes of important cultural value. −0.290 −1 0.619 1 0.583 1 1.343 3 13 Nature provides us with many valuable experiences. We hunt, fish, hike, mountain climb, −0.432* −1 0.444 1 1.657 4 2.153 4 and engage in numerous activities in which we interact with nature. 16 We want to experience areas where humans are merely visitors and not inhabitants. −0.773 −2 −1.399 −4 0.373 1 0.278 1 27 Any effort to conserve biodiversity must be limited by considerations of other values −1.150 −3 0.861 2 −0.373 −1 0.550 1 such as freedom, equality, health, and justice. 9 It is not clear why all species that environmentalists campaign to conserve −1.504 −3 −0.497 −1 −0.655 −2 0.266 0 ought to be saved. 40 Species extinctions are not necessarily bad. −1.634* −4 −0.515 −1 −0.491 −1 0.816 2 Distinguishing statements for factor 2 42 The earth’s biodiversity should be conserved because genetic diversity may be valuable 0.478 1 1.690* 4 −0.210 0 0.266 0 in the development of new drugs against disease. 2 Protecting ecosystem service providers is important because they are a −0.414 −1 1.616* 4 0.210 0 0.006 0 source of economic value. 12 Countries can benefit from their conservation efforts through tourism. −0.195 0 1.307* 3 0.210 0 −0–810 −2 13 Nature provides us with many valuable experiences. We hunt, fish, hike, mountain −0.432 −1 0.444* 1 1.657 4 2.153 4 climb, and engage in numerous activities in which we interact with nature. 33 Species extinction reduces possibilities for future generations. 1.200 3 0.346 1 −0.537 −1 −0.810 −2 14 Losing its biological richness and diversity, the world loses its magic. −0.087 0 −0.904 −2 0.373 1 −0.012 0 16 We want to experience areas where humans are merely visitors and not inhabitants. −0.773 −2 −1.399 −4 0.373 1 0.278 1 Distinguishing statements for factor 3 41 Nature and its diversity make our lives meaningful. −0.154 0 −0.830 −1 1.611* 4 −0.804 −1 29 Valuing species in economic terms implies a justification for the destruction of the biosphere. −1.371 −3 −1.460 −4 0.583* 1 −0.798 −1 18 We value some species for their beauty, but this is only relevant for a very small number 0.948 2 0.738 1 −0.419* −1 0.804 2 of species. Therefore, beauty is not a particularly important basis for conservation. 24 Even if only a few species are needed for our world to be productive we have to conserve 0.973 2 0.279 0 −0.537 −1 0.538 1 more as a back-up. Otherwise a pest or climate change could wipe out the few species we have saved, and we would have nothing in reserve. 34 Knowledge of the mere existence of species is valuable, even if it is certain that I will 0.848 2 0.428 1 −1.074* −3 1.621 4 never experience them in situ. 38 We can’t aim to conserve biodiversity in all its aspects. Instead, we have to make choices −0.380 −1 0.042 0 −1.238 −3 0.266 0 about increasing, maintaining, or even diminishing biodiversity in particular circumstances. (Continued) 356 M. Blicharska and U. Grandin Table 2. (Continued). Factor 1 Factor 2 Factor 3 Factor 4 No. Statements Z-score Q-SV Z-score Q-SV Z-score Q-SV Z-score Q-SV 19 We do not need to recognize other beings as our moral equals to realize that 1.028 2 0.262 0 −1.611 −3 −0.260 0 we should not kill that which is not a threat. Distinguishing statements for factor 4 34 Knowledge of the mere existence of species is valuable, even if 0.848 2 0.428 1 −1.074 −3 1.621 4 it is certain that I will never experience them in situ. 39 As nature is always changing there is no point in conserving a fixed ecosystem state. −0.180 0 −1.177 −3 −1.611 −4 1.609* 4 40 Species extinctions are not necessarily bad. −1.634 −4 −0.515 −1 −0.491 −1 0.816* 2 31 Species survival ultimately depends on large numbers of other species. 1.777 4 0.929 2 0.865 2 −0.816* −2 6 Species are priceless. 0.496 1 −0.271 0 −0.792 −2 −1.887 −4 Note: * indicates significance at P < 0.01; Q-SV, score for particular statement for each factor, from −4 to +4. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 357 corn or some other species and (. . .) feed the humanity What does it mean “freedom, equality, health, and justice”, (. . .) It will be so for sure, but in a perspective of 20 or probably it is a very subjective concept, defined culturally’ 30 years, but for example not 50. (Participant 7) (participant 15). The participants also expressed a moral stance that Another participant also said that ‘adjusting to local con- other beings should not be killed if they are not a threat, ditions is important’,as even if they are not our moral equals [19]. However, to some participants this kind of ‘moral approach’ was some- (. . .) only such local varieties are most valuable, most thing new: ‘morally, in some way looking from the healthy, and they are also well-adjusted to the local natural entirely human point of view, you can look at nature conditions; and there are also of course these all geneti- conservation as well. In some way I have never thought cally modified organisms (GMOs) plus these kinds of varieties that can be grown everywhere because they are about it like that’ (participant 10). simply resistant to everything – but it is also often con- To sum up, this perspective represented a protection- nected to worse taste, to worse quality. (Participant 9) oriented view that underlined the intrinsic value of biodi- versity and its right to exist, no matter the benefits it could Two participants talked about GMOs, underlining that provide to people. The participants had a holistic view of ‘GMOs are still not well studied, recognized, and we still the nature and saw it as an integrated ecological system of do not really know if they can cause some illnesses, components and interlinkages that needed to be main- genetic or others’ (participant 9) and that ‘[thinking tained, where humans only are one component. They about genetic diversity for feeding people in the future] also thought that people need biodiversity for the future is this kind of thinking that protects us against different but not necessarily in terms of economic benefits. genetic modifications’ (participant 16). The participants of this perspective considered the description of biodiversity as a work of art [8], a museum 3.2. Perspective 2: ecosystem services and utility of to all [32] or magic [14] as ‘too metaphoric’ (participant nature 7). One of the participants added that the term ‘museum’ may have very negative associations in the society, as The focus in this perspective was to a large extent on the related to the argument that ‘one wants to make an utilitarian value of biodiversity, as one of the participants “open-air museum” [from nature]’ (participant 2). Also, described it: ‘this approach allows looking at nature con- on the contrary to perspective 1, representatives of this servation in a new way, not as simply an aesthetic ques- tion, but [an issue] that has a social-economic importance’ perspective did not think that biodiversity was an unqua- (participant 7). Also: ‘People need to understand why they lified good [36]. ‘The question of the absolute good. . . are doing it [protect/conserve biodiversity], they have to these protected values are different, biodiversity is one of benefit from it. People do not do something just for an them – but, it is a professional bias – but it is weighed. idea, but they actually need to understand that nature also Because our work is that unfortunately we have to weigh’ is useful for them’ (participant 16). Ecosystem services (participant 2). They also did not value experiences pro- were seen as a source of economic value, which was [2] vided by nature to people as much as perspectives 3 and 4 ‘important, because this economic factor is simply the best did, but more than perspective 1 [13]. reason that can convince to protect biodiversity’ (partici- Particularly distinguishing statements for this perspec- pant 2). Participants also believed that countries could tive are presented in Table 2. Here, the utility of biodiver- benefit from their conservation through tourism [12] and sity was also underlined [42, 2, 12], and species extinction that the ecosystem service approach had potential to was seen as reducing possibilities for future generations improve conservation in Europe [3], even if ‘it is a long [33], as ‘it simply limits human possibilities and also way still (. . .) because these arguments are getting impoverishes landscape, impoverishes ecosystem’ (partici- pant 9). Another distinguishing statement was about the accepted slowly’ (participant 2). They also thought that people’s desire to experience wild areas [16], not sup- genetic diversity could be valuable in the development of ported by the participants of this perspective. new drugs [42], or disease-resistant plants and the produc- Summing up, perspective 2 was a utility-oriented per- tion of food adapted to local conditions [15]. Furthermore spective focusing on concrete benefits that people can get they thought that biodiversity would be important for from biodiversity as a basis for conservation. feeding future human populations [11]. As one participant put it: There were such examples where mass production of food, 3.3. Perspective 3: intrinsic value of nature, aesthetics, such industrial [production] with time occurred contra- non-economic values efficient (. . .) Some species of rice were widely propagated as more efficient and they were really more productive but Similarly to perspective 1, participants representing per- with time this productivity decreased and then it occurred spective 3 believed that all species had a right to exist [20]. that, when there were attempts to come back to the old As one of the participants described it: ‘Most of all. . . it species, they were then impossible to find (. . .) Even if we think at this moment that we can, let’s say, mass-produce simply is [emphasis] and just because of this fact there is 358 M. Blicharska and U. Grandin no discussion on that (. . .) for me it is beyond the need of appreciate the idea of spiritual importance of biodiversity discussing if it is important or not. It simply is’ (participant [7]. One of the participants said ‘in my opinion biodiver- 12). Moreover, the participants valued pristine nature sity has value, not related to any spiritual feeling, but regardless of its utilitarian value [25] and believed that biodiversity is important for other reasons, for example biodiversity could be protected in all its aspects, a view for the reason of evolutionary stability’ (participant 4). significantly different from all other perspectives. They Another participant commented on the statement 7: also considered conservation to be a moral matter [4] ‘these are for me such philosophical questions. . . feelings and strongly opposed the notion that humans may extin- can be very [subjective]’ (participant 5). guish any species harmful to their survival [37]. The main difference between this perspective and per- What significantly differentiated this perspective from spective 3 was that participants representing this perspec- the other perspectives was the appreciation of beauty as a tive framed nature as something that was dynamic and basis for conservation [18, 30] and the belief that nature’s variable, not a ‘museum’ [32], as it was ‘a more dynamic diversity made our lives meaningful [41] (Table 2). The system’ (participant 5). The perspective underlined that latter view was considered as very subjective and emo- species extinctions were not necessarily bad [40] (this tional, as one of the participants said: ‘this is such a soft was opinion significantly different from all other perspec- statement, very subjective, but actually it appeals to me. tives; see Table 2), because ‘this is a natural process, This is actually funny because here I am myself and here usually’ and it is ‘not dependent on our valuation – good [in relation to the other statements] more professional’ or bad; it is simply a fact’ (participant 5). However, on the (participant 13). contrary to perspective 1, this perspective did not expli- Moreover, the participants representing this perspec- citly emphasize the nature as interconnected system of tive considered values other than economic as important, relations [31]. Nevertheless, knowledge about ecological for example, the experiences that people get when they processes seemed to be important, which was indicated by interact with nature [13], or the value of nature for produc- the high importance given to statement number 39 ‘as tion of scientific knowledge [21] and to some extent also nature is always changing there is no point in conserving the notion that economic valuation of species implies a a fixed ecosystem state’, distinguishing this perspective justification for the destruction of the biosphere [29], a from all other perspectives. One of the participants belief that distinguishing this group from all other described it as ‘variability is not dependent on humans, perspectives. so humans should not insist to influence that’ (participant To sum up, perspective 3 to some extent resembled 4). The participants of this perspective did not think spe- perspective 1 – in its conviction that biodiversity should cies extinction could be compared to the destruction of a be protected because of its intrinsic value. However, on work of art [8], as ‘the destruction of a work of art is the contrary to perspective 1, this perspective did not caused by our decision; a decision of some madman, but a regard nature as being a large dynamic interconnected human decision, while the extinction of species can be system that needs to be maintained as a whole. Instead, independent of humans’ (participant 4) and ‘in general I it included an ‘emotional’ component, perceiving nature as do not know if a product of nature can be compared at all source of beauty and important experiences. with a product of human mind’ (participant 5). Generally, statements in this perspective illustrate a vision of nature The excluded Q-sort of participant 3 also fell under perspective 3 but participant 3 had sorted particular state- as something that operates independently of humans, their ments in the opposite way to the other participants repre- actions and valuations. senting this perspective (making the perspective bipolar). To sum up, participants representing perspective 4 For example, participant 3 believed that humans were seemed to hold somewhat similar views to the people morally permitted to extinguish species harmful to from perspectives 1 and 3, when it comes to intrinsic human survival [37], did not think that biodiversity is value of biodiversity. In addition, they underlined the good no matter what [36] nor that all species have right importance of natural processes independent of humans. to exist [20], and underlined the need for making choices when protecting biodiversity [38]. 3.5. Consensus statements Several consensus statements emerged from the analysis 3.4. Perspective 4: intrinsic and aesthetic values of (Table 3). For example, the participants representing all nature; importance of natural processes four perspectives definitely did not think that most species Like perspective 3, the participants representing this per- were superfluous [17] and even called this idea ‘absurd’ spective underlined that nature was valuable in itself [25] (participants 7 and 9), as ‘every species has some own place and referred to the beauty of nature as important for in nature, in the ecosystem it has some particular function’ humans [30]. They believed that the knowledge of the (participant 9). As framed by one of the participants: mere existence of species was valuable [34] – a view that significantly distinguished perspective 4 from all I think it cannot be superfluous if it was constructed in other perspectives (Table 2). On the other hand, they did such a way [that] everything complements each other, like not think that species were priceless [6] and did not a chain with many links, if only the smallest one International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 359 Table 3. Consensus statements. Factors 1 234 Z- Q- Z- Q- Z- Q- Z- Q- No. Statement score SV score SV score SV score SV 4* Biodiversity conservation is not a moral matter. −0.341 −1 −0.848 −1 −1.002 −2 −0.272 −1 5 Some species are important symbols of human values, such as freedom. −0.003 0 −0.280 0 0.000 0 0.556 1 17* Most species are superfluous. −2.337 −4 −2.198 −4 −2.148 −4 −2.153 −4 21* Nature is a laboratory for the pursuit of science through which society 1.126 3 0.576 1 1.284 3 1.064 2 gains knowledge, and understanding of the world. 23* Nature provides a place to take calculated risks, to learn the luck of the −0.085 0 −0.086 0 0.000 0 −0.266 −1 weather, to lose and find one’s way, to reflect on success and failure. 32 Nature provides the profoundest historical museum of all. −0.658 −1.267 −0.373 −1 −1.064 35 Genetic diversity is good because each particular species represents the −0.385 −1 −0.632 −1 −0.328 0 0.272 1 success of generations of evolutionary trial and error. Notes: Q-SV, score for particular statement for each factor, from −4 to +4. All listed statements are not significant at P > 0.01, and those flagged with an * are also not significant at P > 0.05, which means that they do not significantly contribute to the extracted particular factors (perspectives). disappears (. . .) it is the same with the body, like it is with conservation, may lead to conflicting interpretations of nature, that even in a body if one cell is missing, which we the conservation policies and obstruct their effective do not really think about, or anything is missing, then it implementation. Amplified conflicts may hinder commu- does not function so well. (Participant 11) nication between people involved in the conservation- related work (Miller et al. 2011) and lead to confusing The participants also did not think that nature should be messages ‘sent’ to the general public by professionals called ‘museum’ [32]. They also thought, at least to some actually having the same overarching goal, i.e. conser- extent, that biodiversity conservation was a moral matter ving biodiversity (Sandbrook et al. 2011). The multilevel [4] and that it was important for people because it could nature of biodiversity governance may amplify these provide knowledge through scientific research [21]. On problems (Levin 2000). Because the assumptions behind the other hand, the participants of all four perspectives conservation may impact the way biodiversity discourse treated statements relating to symbolic [5] or contempla- is shaped and the policies are implemented, it is critical to tive values [23] neutrally, which indicates that they were recognize what values underlie the conservation work of rather indifferent in their relation to such statements. biodiversity professionals. However, such studies are still rare. Our study aimed at filling this gap by addressing one of the new EU member states, where biodiversity 4. Discussion conservation is competing with present economic devel- opment (Blicharska et al. 2011). It is broadly recognized that different types of values are Our results reveal that the conservation professionals central to biodiversity conservation (Chan 2008)and that represent a set of different perspectives on fundamental activities relating to conservation are value-laden biodiversity issues, which is in line with previous (Odenbauhgh 2003). At the same time, there is a gener- research (Robinson 2011; Sandbrook et al. 2011). ally held assumption that conservation professional share Recognizing the different perspectives that exist is an a core set of values and objectives that guide their work important prerequisite to facilitate communication, find (Sandbrook et al. 2011). However, recent debate on the possible synergies, as well as avoid or mitigate conflicts values and advocacy in conservation biology indicates in policy implementation (Durning & Brown 2006). The that there can be many different ‘ideologies’ constituting multiscale and complex issues of high importance (such the base for conservation (Miller et al. 2011;Robinson as biodiversity conservation) are often conflicting in their 2011). Although conservation programmes and policies nature and it may be impossible to build the classical do not always explicitly consider these different ideolo- consensus on them. We suggest that instead of always gies behind conservation, ‘their implementation will trying to even out the existing differences one may favor different values, and project objectives will be attempt to build the biodiversity discourse on these dif- responsive to different ideologies’ (Robinson 2011). ferences (Gustafsson 2013). Recognizing the existing Moreover, it is known from studies on policy implemen- differences and identifying potential conflicts and syner- tation in other fields that implementation of policies is gies may facilitate creation of a discourse that incorpo- ‘filtered through the values of those responsible for rates all relevant, even contradictory, perspectives and action’ (Lloyd et al. 2009). Thus, different understand- makes use of their potential. ings of biodiversity, as well as different goals for 360 M. Blicharska and U. Grandin In our study of conservation professionals’ rationale making that is open and inclusive and takes into account for biodiversity conservation, we revealed four different values represented by different stakeholders. However, the perspectives on the reasons for biodiversity conservation. biodiversity conservation argumentation is relatively weak Three of the perspectives were closely related in their and undeveloped (Blicharska et al. 2011; Representative of understanding of biodiversity as something with intrinsic General Directorate for Environmental Protection, Poland, value and thus could be called ‘biodiversity-centred’. The personal communication, 2013). Moreover, the question of remaining perspective underlined the needs of people and biodiversity conservation is still most commonly taken up the crucial role ecosystems play in delivering different to the public debate in controversial cases and mainly by services to humans, and thus was more anthropocentric. NGOs (Grodzińska-Jurczak & Cent 2011; Niedziałkowski Perspective 3 was bipolar, in the sense that one of the et al. 2013), while the policymakers focus on other societal participants representing this perspective sorted particular issues, particularly economic development. This is illu- statements contrary to the other participants. This illustrates strated, for example, by the fact that in Poland there has both with weakness and the strengths of the Q-methodol- never been any Green Party in the Parliament that would ogy. The downside of the method is potential difficulties in represent an environmental worldview and focus on envir- interpretation of the polarized responses. The strength is onmental issues that are important for the whole society. that it reveals the full range of views regarding a particular In a situation where economic development still plays issue, also marginalized or less common ones. These views a main role, the anthropocentric vision of conservation that are typically the ones that may open up a polarized debate views humans as beneficiaries of nature, through the con- and they are therefore crucial to consider. cept of ecosystem services, can to be particularly useful. However, the general pattern of our findings shows the Considering the nature as something that actually provides existence of two main lines of reasoning for biodiversity us with concrete benefits can counterweight the current conservation. These can be interpreted in terms of the two emphasis on the general economic development. The uti- competing biodiversity discourses commonly found in lity-oriented approach to biodiversity has been a dominant literature: a narrative of nature as an ethical identity and view in environmental discourses since the 1980s (Hajer a narrative of nature as a resource for society (Gustafsson 1995); however, the present notion of ecosystem services 2013). The former describes nature as something repre- underlying this approach is a relatively new concept, and senting intrinsic values, often related to emotions and it is increasingly used in biodiversity related decision- morals, while the latter underlines the utility of nature making (MA 2005; Braat & De Groot 2012). Also in and its importance for social and economic development Poland, the ecosystem services approach to conservation of humans (Van Koppen 2000). These two discourses is rather new, as indicated by most of the interviewees, but seem to be largely contradictory, however, they may also it carries potential for improved management of natural be considered as two complementary discourses of one resources (Rosin et al. 2011). As the ecosystem services common biodiversity storyline that can be used to com- approach helps visualizing the value of biodiversity municate what biodiversity is about (Gustafsson 2013). (Harrison et al. 2010), it can be a useful tool for convin- The mix of perspectives existing among the Polish cing decision-makers and the general society about the conservation professionals could be used to lift the rank need for biodiversity protection (Daily et al. 2009). It of the biodiversity conservation among other societal can also help balance the more intrinsic value-oriented issues in Poland. Since the beginning of 1990s, the coun- approach represented usually by the NGOs and increase try has experienced a large economic development that the chances for partnership-like communication between eventually may threaten the biodiversity. For example, them, the professionals working in the administration and there is an ongoing debate on the prospective shale gas the actual policymakers. extraction that would be both very beneficial for the coun- In the light of the above, the future conservation effort try’s economy and its energy security, but may also entail in Poland, and other new EU member states being in a large environmental costs (Johnson & Boersma 2013). similar situation, should focus not only on the actual Similarly, there is a large-scale development of the trans- creation of protected areas or fulfilling the conservation port infrastructure (Szymalski and Ryter 2004; targets but also on the active and deliberate construction of Jędrzejewski et al. 2006). Furthermore, during the last the new type of conservation discourse. This discourse can two decades Poland has been going through transforma- build on the already existing perspectives and balance the tion involving broad political, economic and social notion of intrinsic value of nature with its utilitarian value. changes, related to the process of institutional change from the hierarchical government-centred approach to a Acknowledgements multilevel, decentralized governance system (Kluvánková- Oravská et al. 2009). Additionally, after entering the EU in We would like to thank the BESAFE researchers for their work on the Q-study statements. We particularly thank Yennie Bredin 2004, Poland accepted many new policies related to envir- for help with methodological issues and useful comments on the onmental issues and biodiversity in particular. 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Why protect biodiversity? Perspectives of conservation professionals in Poland

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2151-3732
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DOI
10.1080/21513732.2015.1050969
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Abstract

International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management, 2015 Vol. 11, No. 4, 349–362, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21513732.2015.1050969 a,b, a Malgorzata Blicharska * and Ulf Grandin Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 7050, SE 750 07, Uppsala, Sweden; Swedish Biodiversity Centre, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 7007, SE 750 07, Uppsala, Sweden (Submitted 23 October 2014; accepted 11 May 2015; edited by Berta Martín-López) There are numerous strategies to reverse biodiversity decline, ranging from economic, through ecological, to ethical ones. Which arguments are used in the conservation may have bearing on the actual implementation of biodiversity policies. To understand conservation professionals’ perceptions of biodiversity is particularly important in the countries in transition, where the new environmental policies are being implemented, the approaches to governance are changing and new biodiversity discourses are emerging. This study investigates what the biodiversity conservation professionals in Poland believe the rationale behind conservation is. We reveal two main perspectives – one focused on intrinsic value of biodiversity and one underlining its utilitarian value. Even if the intrinsic value perspective prevails, the economic framing of biodiversity value is emerging. This framing is important in the face of the ongoing changes in Poland with focus on economic development and relatively little attention paid to biodiversity. The utilitarian approach to conservation, reinforced by the concept of ecosystem services, can be used to supplement the emerging biodiversity discourse strengthening the conservation case. The richness of perspectives among the conservation professionals can facilitate deliberate construction of the new conservation discourse in Poland combining the notion of intrinsic value of nature with the utilitarian approach. Keywords: biodiversity professionals; ecosystem services; intrinsic value; perceptions; utilitarian value 1. Introduction policies. Presence of perspectives that are in strict conflict with each other may lead to problems in policies’ and Biodiversity loss has been on international policy agenda management guideline’s implementation due to tensions for several decades now, yet the accelerating decline (MA between fundamental values and beliefs (Emtage & 2005) has not been stopped and we still face many chal- Herbohn 2012; Wolfe 2012). Similarly, professionals lenges regarding biodiversity conservation (Pimm et al. working with biodiversity in different sectors may assign 1995; Stokstad 2010). There are numerous strategies to different priority to different issues, like, for example, in reverse the biodiversity decline, ranging from economic, the case of conflict between conservation and agricultural through ecological, to ethical (Rands et al. 2010). Both the activities (Henle et al. 2008). rationale for biodiversity conservation action and its suc- As the successful realization of conservation goals to cess vary greatly, depending on the paradigms represented great extent depends on conservation professionals, i.e. by various professionals in charge of conservation, as well people at different governance levels who work with as social-cultural and political context (Wilshusen et al. implementing biodiversity policies in practice (representa- 2002; Waylen et al. 2010). The value of biodiversity has tives of authorities and NGOs as well as scientists), it is been also framed in different terms, ranging from purely important to know how they perceive biodiversity and the intrinsic to different kinds of assigned values, including reasons behind its conservation. There have been rela- use and non-use instrumental values (Ehrlich & Ehrlich tively many studies scrutinizing the perceptions of biodi- 1992; Raffaelli et al. 2009). Likewise, the arguments for versity and its values among people not professionally biodiversity conservation have varied depending on the involved in nature conservation. In particular, representa- underlying reasons for maintaining biodiversity in general. tions, images and visions of nature (Van Den Born et al. Some authors argue that demonstrating the economic 2001; Buijs et al. 2008, 2012), landscape-type preferences values of biodiversity is the only way to go, as people (De Groot & Vanden Born 2003), preferences for biodi- need concrete incentives to engage in action reversing versity-related values (Qiu et al. 2013) and people’s men- biodiversity loss (e.g. Pearce 2001). Others argue that tal constructs of biodiversity (Fischer & Young 2007) have market-based conservation leads to selling out on nature been investigated. However, the studies concerning the and advocate return to focusing on the intrinsic values way in which professionals working with conservation (e.g. McCauley 2006; Soulé 2013). perceive biodiversity and its values are rather sporadic. Which arguments are used and how they are incorpo- In a rare study of such values, Sandbrook et al. (2011) rated in the general conservation discourse may have investigated plurality of values among international bearing on the actual implementation of biodiversity *Corresponding author. Email: malgorzata.blicharska@slu.se © 2015 Taylor & Francis 350 M. Blicharska and U. Grandin conservation professionals and concluded that they did not think about what rationale behind biodiversity conserva- share any core values, but instead held a complex set of tion is. We discuss the potential role of their perspectives ideas and opinions about biodiversity. Fisher and Brown in constructing new conservation discourse in a young EU (2014) looked into how professionals working with con- member state. servation use and interpret the notion of ecosystem ser- vices, revealing concerns over the utilitarian thinking that permeates this concept and the instrumental approach in 2. Methods adopting it. However, they also conclude that ecosystem services concept may provide a common language to The Q-methodology was initially developed as a tool for integrate conservation with other sectors. psychological research. However, it has been used in While there are few studies on the conservation profes- many different fields, including environmental studies, sionals’ perceptions of biodiversity of the old European for example, to investigate perspectives on forest manage- Union (EU) countries, the new EU member states seem to ment (Steelman & Maguire 1999), tiger conservation be even less investigated with regard to this issue. In the (Rastogi et al. 2013), global environmental change light of the ongoing changes that these countries face, both (Niemeyer et al. 2005), environmentally adapted manage- in terms of economic development and implementation of ment practices in agriculture (Bumbudsanpharoke et al. EU policies, knowledge on the existing perspectives on 2010), conservation discourses (Cairns et al. 2014)or biodiversity conservation may help shed light on the rea- good participation process (Webler et al. 2001). sons behind conservation and assist shaping the new dis- In the Q-methodology, each participant is given a set course on biodiversity, facilitating efficient implementation of statements that he/she orders (sorts) on a Q-chart of new domestic policies. In this paper, we reveal the (Figure 1), from the statements he/she agrees most with perspectives on biodiversity conservation present among to the statements he/she agrees least with (sorting of the professionals that work with biodiversity in Poland by statements by a participant is called a ‘Q-sort’). using a Q-methodology (Webler et al. 2009). The Q-meth- Quantitative analysis of the Q-sorts aids to find patterns odology was originally developed by William Stephenson in opinions across participants. This is complemented with (Stephenson 1935) as a tool to assess individuals’ attitudes qualitative interviews conducted during Q-sorts to create and perspectives. The method enables the researcher to narratives representing different opinions/perspectives. reveal patterns in underlying value systems of individuals The methodological details of the Q-method have been and groups (Gruber 2011). The aim is not to reveal ‘the described by several authors (e.g. Brown 1993; Webler facts’ but to study subjective opinions on a topic of interest et al. 2009). In the following, we focus mainly on the (Brown 1993). The strength of the Q-methodology is that it details specific to our study. First, we selected a set of combines both statistical analysis and qualitative interpreta- statements that made up a concourse, based on the body of tion that leads to increased reliability and validity of the literature on the arguments for biodiversity conservation results (Bumbudsanpharoke et al. 2010). emerging from a comprehensive literature review on dif- Poland is the largest post-communist country (both in ferent arguments for conservation that was conducted terms of area and human population) that entered the EU within the BESAFE project (Biodiversity and Ecosystem after 2000 and has since then been subject to European Services: Arguments for our Future Environment; http:// biodiversity legislation. Presently, over decade after the www.besafe-project.net/) and will be published elsewhere accession, Poland still faces numerous development chal- (Howard et al., unpublished data). Different rationales for lenges. Because of the focus on economic development biodiversity conservation that emerged from the literature of the country, biodiversity conservation is still not at the review were represented by 180 initial statements that centre of public attention (Blicharska et al. 2011; could be roughly divided into seven categories: economic Niedziałkowski et al. 2013), even if all relevant policies arguments, biophilia (i.e. based on the premise that there is are officially implemented. At the same time, the level of an instinctive bond between human beings and other liv- acceptance of new policies in Poland, likewise in the ing systems) arguments, utilitarian (non-economic) argu- other new EU member states, is still relatively low ments, aesthetic arguments, intrinsic value arguments, (Grodzińska-Jurczak & Cent 2011) and thus the imple- ecosystem integrity/function arguments and ecosystem ser- mentation of biodiversity policies often leads to conflicts, vice arguments. The initial 180 statements were reviewed like it was, for example, in the case of the Natura 2000 and reduced to a final set of 42 final statements (Table 1). network implementation (Kluvánková-Oravská et al. When selecting the final 42 statements, attention was paid 2009; Paavola et al. 2009;Grodzińska-Jurczak & Cent to retain statement representing each of the argument 2011). categories, to have statements that would be easily under- Poland’s biodiversity is relatively rich compared to standable and meaningful for the participants and that other EU countries (Oleksyn & Reich 1994; Plut 2000), would allow for slightly different interpretations by differ- and therefore the need for the effective strategies that ent people. The statements were also selected to represent combine economic development with conservation goals topics that all participants were likely to have opinions to protect the remaining biodiversity is of particular impor- about. The statements taken from the literature were edited tance. In our study, we reveal how professionals in Poland to be understandable even if read out of context. Finally, to International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 351 Why invest in biodiversity conservation? My personal thoughts and beliefs about the value of biodiversity conservation 25 30 19 15 7 6 34 36 35 29 32 38 23 13 9 39 5 41 18 27 20 24 31 37 2 10 11 8 12 26 1 22 17 40 16 14 28 33 4 21 3 –4 –3 –2 –1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4 Least like I think Most like I think Figure 1. Q-chart with an example of a Q-sort from perspective 1 (sort 10), where all the statements (numbered from 1 to 42) are sorted on the scale from ‘most like I think’ to ‘least like I think’. get acceptance and to ensure that the statements were (see above) and statements that were both positively and understood all were translated into Polish. negatively framed (Kamal et al. 2014). All the statements In the Q-methodology, it is recommended to have fewer are provided in Table 1, together with their z-scores and participants than statements used. Usually a ratio 3:1 is ranks for each factor. Z-scores represent measures of how recommended (Webler et al. 2009). For our 42 statements, far a statement lies from the middle of a distribution of we selected 16 participants. The participants were profes- statements typical for a particular factor and thus can be sionals working with biodiversity conservation (see supple- used to show which particular statements are most impor- mental data), including authorities’ representatives, NGO tant for describing particular factor (Webler et al. 2009). representatives and scientists (representing both natural The participants were asked to sort the statements and social sciences). All participants were selected through written on small cards into the Q-chart (Figure 1) accord- judgement sampling (Marshall 1996) and contacted by ing to their personal thoughts and views having the ques- email and/or telephone. In case of authorities, a head of tion ‘Why to invest in biodiversity conservation?’ in mind. particular unit was contacted, while in case of researchers or The participants sorted the statements on a scale from NGOs, particular person of interest was contacted. Main ‘most like I think’ (+4) to ‘least like I think’ (−4). At the selection criterion was that all participants should work same time, the participants were encouraged to think aloud professionally with biodiversity conservation and thus be and discuss their choices with the interviewer. The inter- well acquainted with this topic. Compared to other quanti- views were audio-recorded and the participants were tative methodologies, Q-methodology requires relatively assured of the anonymity of both the sorts and the record- small sample of respondents because the aim in a Q-study ings. Each interview/sort took from ca. 40 minutes to 1.5 is to focus on what are the particular perspectives and not hour. The interviews were conducted in April to June how many people express these perspectives (Brown 1996). 2013. The quotes from the interviews were used to In the Q-methodology, the respondents are ‘dependent vari- cross-check the results of the quantitative analysis. ables’ (in quantitative method’s terminology), and the Q- Particular fragments of the interviews are also quoted to statements are ‘independent variables’, representing a wide support the findings presented in the results section. spectrum of ideas (Kamal et al. 2014). Thus, a Q-study does The quantitative analysis was conducted using free not describe a population of people expressing particular software PQMETHOD program written by Peter views, but instead it describes a population of viewpoints or Schmolck (http://schmolck.userweb.mwn.de/qmethod/ perspectives (Van Exel & De Graaf 2005). Because of this index.htm#PQMethod). First, a factor analysis was con- inherent structure, there is a need for assuring that a set of ducted using principal component analysis (PCA) algo- statements is representative, i.e. includes all important rithm in order to identify which Q-sorts (particular claims in the relevant topic. This was done by including sortings by individual participants) clustered together. As in the concourse statements from each argument category a result, eight different factors, representing different 352 M. Blicharska and U. Grandin Table 1. The Q-statements used in the study, their z-scores and scores for particular statements for each factor (Q-SV). Factors 12 34 No. Statement Z-score Q-SV Z-score Q-SV Z-score Q-SV Z-score Q-SV 1 We do not know how ecosystems will be affected by the 0.783 1 0.754 1 −0.701 −2 0.000 0 loss of species, therefore we better preserve them. 2 Protecting ecosystem service providers is important because −0.414 −1 1.616 4 0.210 0 0.006 0 they are a source of economic value. 3 The ecosystem service approach has potential to −0.224 −1 1.193 2 1.074 2 0.272 1 improve species conservation in Europe. 4 Biodiversity conservation is not a moral matter. −0.341 −1 −0.848 −1 −1.002 −2 −0.272 1 5 Some species are important symbols of human −0.003 0 −0.280 0 0.000 0 0.556 1 values, such as freedom. 6 Species are priceless. 0.496 1 −0.271 0 −0.792 −2 −1.887 −4 7 The reason biodiversity matters is because it confers 0.451 1 −0.894 −1 0.164 0 −1.349 −3 on us an imprecise, immeasurable well-being that is located in the spirit rather than in the wallet. 8 The extinction of a species is like the 0.122 1 −1.119 −2 0.000 0 −1.881 −4 destruction of a great work of art. 9 It is not clear why all species that −1.504 −3 −0.497 −1 −0.655 −2 0.266 0 environmentalists campaign to conserve ought to be saved. 10 Protecting biodiversity and ecosystem services is particularly −0.659 −2 0.854 2 0.910 2 −0.272 −1 important for poverty alleviation in developing countries. 11 Conserving genetic diversity is important to feed future −0.455 −2 1.410 3 1.329 3 −0.272 −1 human populations. 12 Countries can benefit from their conservation efforts −0.195 0 1.307 3 0.210 0 −0.810 −2 through tourism. 13 Nature provides us with many valuable experiences. −0.432 −1 0.444 1 1.657 4 2.153 4 We hunt, fish, hike, mountain climb, and engage in numerous activities in which we interact with nature. 14 Losing its biological richness and diversity, the world loses its magic. −0.087 0 −0.904 −2 0.373 1 −0.012 0 15 It is important to conserve the genetic reservoir −0.005 0 1.641 4 0.537 1 1.071 2 in a region, in case we need to breed disease-resistant plants or produce food adapted to local conditions. 16 We want to experience areas where humans −0.773 −2 −1.399 −4 0.373 1 0.278 1 are merely visitors and not inhabitants. 17 Most species are superfluous. −2.337 −4 −2.198 −4 −2.148 −4 −2.153 −4 18 We value some species for their beauty, but this is only 0.948 2 0.738 1 −0.419 −1 0.804 2 relevant for a very small number of species. Therefore, beauty is not a particularly important basis for conservation. 19 We do not need to recognize other beings as our moral equals 1.028 2 0.262 0 −1.611 −3 −0.260 0 to realize that we should not kill that which is not a threat. 20 All species have a right to exist, regardless of their ability to benefit humans. 1.763 4 0.068 0 1.028 2 −0.006 0 International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 353 21 Nature is a laboratory for the pursuit of science through which 1.126 3 0.576 1 1.284 3 1.064 2 society gains knowledge, and understanding of the world. 22 The diversity of life is something like the rivets on 1.680 4 1.454 3 0.328 1 −0.006 0 an airplane, with each species playing a small but significant role in the working of the whole. The loss of each rivet weakens the plane by a small but noticeable amount – until it loses airworthiness and crashes. 23 Nature provides a place to take calculated risks, −0.085 0 −0.086 0 0.000 00 −0.266 −1 to learn the luck of the weather, to lose and find one’s way, to reflect on success and failure. 24 Even if only a few species are needed for our world to be productive 0.973 2 0.279 0 −0.537 −1 0.538 1 we have to conserve more species as a back-up. Otherwise a pest or climate change could wipe out the few species we have saved, and we would have nothing in reserve. 25 Pristine nature is valuable in itself. 0.650 1 0.341 0 2.148 4 1.349 3 26 Ecosystems have co-evolved with humans creating −0.290 −1 0.619 1 0.583 1 1.343 3 landscapes of important cultural value. 27 Any effort to conserve biodiversity must be −1.150 −3 0.861 2 −0.373 −1 0.550 1 limited by considerations of other values such as freedom, equality, health and justice. 28 Destroying nature is like burning unread books. 0.203 1 −0.922 −2 −0.373 −1 −0.810 −2 29 Valuing species in economic terms implies a −1.371 −3 −1.460 −4 0.583 1 −0.798 −1 justification for the destruction of the biosphere. 30 Nature produces works of grace which please the eye. 0.089 0 −0.346 −1 1.284 3 1.343 3 31 Species survival ultimately depends on large numbers 1.777 4 0.929 2 0.865 2 −0.816 −2 of other species. 32 Nature provides the profoundest −0.658 −2 −1.267 −3 −0.373 −1 −1.064 −3 historical museum of all. 33 Species extinction reduces possibilities for future generations. 1.200 3 0.346 1 −0.537 −1 −0.810 −2 34 The knowledge of the mere existence of species is valuable, 0.848 2 0.428 1 −1.074 −3 1.621 4 even if it is certain that I will never experience them in situ. 35 Genetic diversity is good because each −0.385 −1 −0.632 −1 −0.328 0 0.272 1 particular species represents the success of generations of evolutionary trial and error. 36 Biodiversity is an unqualified good, i.e. 1.439 3 −1.064 −2 −0.091 0 −0.822 −2 biodiversity is good no matter what. 37 Humans are morally permitted to extinguish −2.337 −4 −1.147 −3 −2.148 −4 −1.071 −3 any species harmful to human survival. 38 We can’t aim to conserve biodiversity in all its aspects. −0.380 −1 0.042 0 −1.238 −3 0.266 0 Instead, we have to make choices about increasing, maintaining, or even diminishing biodiversity in particular circumstances. 39 As nature is always changing there is −0.180 0 −1.177 −3 −1.611 −4 1.609 4 no point in conserving a fixed ecosystem state. 40 Species extinctions are not necessarily bad. −1.634 −4 −0.515 −1 −0.491 −1 0.816 2 41 Nature and its diversity make our lives meaningful. −0.154 0 −0.830 −1 1.611 4 −0.804 −1 42 The earth’s biodiversity should be conserved 0.478 1 1.690 4 −0.210 0 0.266 0 because genetic diversity may be valuable in the development of new drugs against disease. 354 M. Blicharska and U. Grandin perspectives, were created. The factors were then rotated mankind [20]. The participants explained: ‘The human using Varimax algorithm, to find the simplest structure in being is not the most important being on the Earth and the data while aiming to explain as much of the variance has no moral right to decide about the life of other as possible. We selected the optimal number of factors by, beings... (...)inanideal world all speciesshould first considering the eigenvalues (choosing factors with exist’ (participant 6); ‘this is exactly what biodiversity eigenvalues above 1; Webler et al. 2009), and then check- is about, that not necessarily everything need to give us ing if the resulting perspective made sense in terms of some benefits’ (participant 11). One of the participants clearness and interpretability of results (Kamal et al. also underlined the time perspective, claiming that ‘all 2014). It became apparent that four of the eight factors species have right to exist, regardless their ability to (perspectives) worked best to interpret the range of per- benefit, meaning provide benefits “now”;iftheydonot spectives. As the rotation resulted in one perspective (per- provide now, it does not mean that they will not provide spective 3) of bipolar character (i.e. where participants placed in the future’ (participant 8). Q-statements representing some particular perspectives on The representatives of this perspective did not think opposite sides of the Q-chart, thus representing directly that humans were morally permitted to extinguish any opposing views), one Q-sort (3) was removed from the species harmful to human survival [37], and called this a final analysis, to avoid interpretational problems. However, ‘utilitarian point of view’ (participant 8) or ‘very subjec- some insights from this particular sort are included when tive and utilitarian [approach]’ (participant 8). One parti- perspective 3 is presented to illustrate the bipolar character cipant added ‘I associate that with religions that show that of this perspective. Additionally, one Q-sort (14) represented humans are above all other species and have a right to truly hybrid views (was not significantly associated with decide what may live and what may not, this does not any of the particular factors/perspectives) and was thus really reflects my morality’ (participant 6). not included in the final analysis. To sum up, 14 indi- Additionally, biodiversity was seen as a whole, where vidual Q-sorts were used in the final analysis. each small piece was important for the whole system [22], where species survival ultimately depended on large num- bers of other species [31] and where there was a need to 3. Results keep more species than seemed to be enough for produc- The factor analysis reduced and summarized the complex tivity just now, as a backup in the face of future changes and high-dimensional results of the interviews down to four [24]. This reflected long-time perspective thinking, as ‘we dimensions, or factors, each, representing the main perspec- would have nothing in reserve to replace the species that tives on biodiversity conservation rationale that emerged we would lose due to some decision regarding present from the Q-analysis. The PCA factors will hereafter be benefits’ (participant 8). Additionally, nature was also referred to as perspectives. Together the four perspectives perceived as a laboratory for the pursuit of science and explained 67% of the total variance among 14 out of 16 of the understanding [21], as something that can give us ‘values Q-sorts (two sorts were not included in the factor analysis). (. . .) that can bring us some development, we can learn Perspective 1 was defined by six Q-sorts, perspective 2 by something from them, from nature, or get some ideas from four, while perspectives 3 and 4 by two sorts each. The it’ (participant 10). correlations between perspective 1 and 3 (0.2834), P1 and What significantly distinguished perspective 1 from P4 (0.1148), as well as P3 and P4 (0.2901), were relatively other perspectives (Table 2) was that the participants low, while correlations between perspectives 1 and 2 valued biodiversity as an unqualified good, i.e. as some- (0.4044), P2 and P3 (0.3613) and P2 and P4 (0.3843), were thing that was good no matter what [36], ‘independent of higher. The composite reliabilities for the perspectives were our understanding of its current utility, and all that what relatively high (0.960 for P1; 0.941 for P2; 0.889 for P3; we think about it now’ (participant 8), also reflecting the 0.889 for P4), which indicates that if the study would be intrinsic value of biodiversity. This was also the only repeated similar perspectives would emerge. perspective in which species were to some extent consid- In the following section, we describe the particular ered priceless (z-score 0.496). According to this perspec- perspectives, based on the quantitative Q-analysis and tive, extinctions of species were definitely something bad supported by the interview material. Number in [] indi- [40] and reduced possibilities for future generations [33], cates the number of a statement. For each quote from an however not necessarily economic possibilities, but also interview, a number of the participant is indicated (for a other utility values: ‘for example if Great Snipes get list of participants, see supplementary material). extinct, then the next generation will never be able to learn about their biology and beauty and what is special for this species, what they contribute with’ (partici- 3.1. Perspective 1: biodiversity as an unqualified good; pant 11). nature as an ecological system The participants also did not think that biodiversity Participants representing this perspective focused on an conservation should be constrained by considerations of intrinsic value of biodiversity and defined biodiversity as other, human-related, values like freedom, equality, health an unqualified good. They believed that all species had and justice [27], even if one of the participants said: right to exist, even if they have no clear benefit for ‘maybe it must be, but this is such an empty argument. . . International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 355 Table 2. Statements distinguishing factors 1 to 4 (P < 0.05). Factor 1 Factor 2 Factor 3 Factor 4 No. Statements Z-score Q-SV Z-score Q-SV Z-score Q-SV Z-score Q-SV Distinguishing statements for factor 1 31 Species survival ultimately depends on large numbers of other species. 1.777* 4 0.929 2 0.865 2 −0.816 −2 36 Biodiversity is an unqualified good, i.e. biodiversity is good no matter what. 1.439 3 −1.064 −2 −0.091 0 −0.822 −2 33 Species extinction reduces possibilities for future generations. 1.200* 3 0.346 1 −0.537 −1 −0.810 −2 19 We do not need to recognize other beings as our moral equals to realize that 1.028 2 0.262 0 −1.611 −3 −0.260 0 we should not kill that which is not a threat. 6 Species are priceless. 0.496 1 −0.271 0 −0.792 −2 −1.887 −4 39 As nature is always changing there is no point in conserving a fixed ecosystem state. −0.180* 0 −1.177 −3 −1.611 −4 1.609 4 26 Ecosystems have co-evolved with humans creating landscapes of important cultural value. −0.290 −1 0.619 1 0.583 1 1.343 3 13 Nature provides us with many valuable experiences. We hunt, fish, hike, mountain climb, −0.432* −1 0.444 1 1.657 4 2.153 4 and engage in numerous activities in which we interact with nature. 16 We want to experience areas where humans are merely visitors and not inhabitants. −0.773 −2 −1.399 −4 0.373 1 0.278 1 27 Any effort to conserve biodiversity must be limited by considerations of other values −1.150 −3 0.861 2 −0.373 −1 0.550 1 such as freedom, equality, health, and justice. 9 It is not clear why all species that environmentalists campaign to conserve −1.504 −3 −0.497 −1 −0.655 −2 0.266 0 ought to be saved. 40 Species extinctions are not necessarily bad. −1.634* −4 −0.515 −1 −0.491 −1 0.816 2 Distinguishing statements for factor 2 42 The earth’s biodiversity should be conserved because genetic diversity may be valuable 0.478 1 1.690* 4 −0.210 0 0.266 0 in the development of new drugs against disease. 2 Protecting ecosystem service providers is important because they are a −0.414 −1 1.616* 4 0.210 0 0.006 0 source of economic value. 12 Countries can benefit from their conservation efforts through tourism. −0.195 0 1.307* 3 0.210 0 −0–810 −2 13 Nature provides us with many valuable experiences. We hunt, fish, hike, mountain −0.432 −1 0.444* 1 1.657 4 2.153 4 climb, and engage in numerous activities in which we interact with nature. 33 Species extinction reduces possibilities for future generations. 1.200 3 0.346 1 −0.537 −1 −0.810 −2 14 Losing its biological richness and diversity, the world loses its magic. −0.087 0 −0.904 −2 0.373 1 −0.012 0 16 We want to experience areas where humans are merely visitors and not inhabitants. −0.773 −2 −1.399 −4 0.373 1 0.278 1 Distinguishing statements for factor 3 41 Nature and its diversity make our lives meaningful. −0.154 0 −0.830 −1 1.611* 4 −0.804 −1 29 Valuing species in economic terms implies a justification for the destruction of the biosphere. −1.371 −3 −1.460 −4 0.583* 1 −0.798 −1 18 We value some species for their beauty, but this is only relevant for a very small number 0.948 2 0.738 1 −0.419* −1 0.804 2 of species. Therefore, beauty is not a particularly important basis for conservation. 24 Even if only a few species are needed for our world to be productive we have to conserve 0.973 2 0.279 0 −0.537 −1 0.538 1 more as a back-up. Otherwise a pest or climate change could wipe out the few species we have saved, and we would have nothing in reserve. 34 Knowledge of the mere existence of species is valuable, even if it is certain that I will 0.848 2 0.428 1 −1.074* −3 1.621 4 never experience them in situ. 38 We can’t aim to conserve biodiversity in all its aspects. Instead, we have to make choices −0.380 −1 0.042 0 −1.238 −3 0.266 0 about increasing, maintaining, or even diminishing biodiversity in particular circumstances. (Continued) 356 M. Blicharska and U. Grandin Table 2. (Continued). Factor 1 Factor 2 Factor 3 Factor 4 No. Statements Z-score Q-SV Z-score Q-SV Z-score Q-SV Z-score Q-SV 19 We do not need to recognize other beings as our moral equals to realize that 1.028 2 0.262 0 −1.611 −3 −0.260 0 we should not kill that which is not a threat. Distinguishing statements for factor 4 34 Knowledge of the mere existence of species is valuable, even if 0.848 2 0.428 1 −1.074 −3 1.621 4 it is certain that I will never experience them in situ. 39 As nature is always changing there is no point in conserving a fixed ecosystem state. −0.180 0 −1.177 −3 −1.611 −4 1.609* 4 40 Species extinctions are not necessarily bad. −1.634 −4 −0.515 −1 −0.491 −1 0.816* 2 31 Species survival ultimately depends on large numbers of other species. 1.777 4 0.929 2 0.865 2 −0.816* −2 6 Species are priceless. 0.496 1 −0.271 0 −0.792 −2 −1.887 −4 Note: * indicates significance at P < 0.01; Q-SV, score for particular statement for each factor, from −4 to +4. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 357 corn or some other species and (. . .) feed the humanity What does it mean “freedom, equality, health, and justice”, (. . .) It will be so for sure, but in a perspective of 20 or probably it is a very subjective concept, defined culturally’ 30 years, but for example not 50. (Participant 7) (participant 15). The participants also expressed a moral stance that Another participant also said that ‘adjusting to local con- other beings should not be killed if they are not a threat, ditions is important’,as even if they are not our moral equals [19]. However, to some participants this kind of ‘moral approach’ was some- (. . .) only such local varieties are most valuable, most thing new: ‘morally, in some way looking from the healthy, and they are also well-adjusted to the local natural entirely human point of view, you can look at nature conditions; and there are also of course these all geneti- conservation as well. In some way I have never thought cally modified organisms (GMOs) plus these kinds of varieties that can be grown everywhere because they are about it like that’ (participant 10). simply resistant to everything – but it is also often con- To sum up, this perspective represented a protection- nected to worse taste, to worse quality. (Participant 9) oriented view that underlined the intrinsic value of biodi- versity and its right to exist, no matter the benefits it could Two participants talked about GMOs, underlining that provide to people. The participants had a holistic view of ‘GMOs are still not well studied, recognized, and we still the nature and saw it as an integrated ecological system of do not really know if they can cause some illnesses, components and interlinkages that needed to be main- genetic or others’ (participant 9) and that ‘[thinking tained, where humans only are one component. They about genetic diversity for feeding people in the future] also thought that people need biodiversity for the future is this kind of thinking that protects us against different but not necessarily in terms of economic benefits. genetic modifications’ (participant 16). The participants of this perspective considered the description of biodiversity as a work of art [8], a museum 3.2. Perspective 2: ecosystem services and utility of to all [32] or magic [14] as ‘too metaphoric’ (participant nature 7). One of the participants added that the term ‘museum’ may have very negative associations in the society, as The focus in this perspective was to a large extent on the related to the argument that ‘one wants to make an utilitarian value of biodiversity, as one of the participants “open-air museum” [from nature]’ (participant 2). Also, described it: ‘this approach allows looking at nature con- on the contrary to perspective 1, representatives of this servation in a new way, not as simply an aesthetic ques- tion, but [an issue] that has a social-economic importance’ perspective did not think that biodiversity was an unqua- (participant 7). Also: ‘People need to understand why they lified good [36]. ‘The question of the absolute good. . . are doing it [protect/conserve biodiversity], they have to these protected values are different, biodiversity is one of benefit from it. People do not do something just for an them – but, it is a professional bias – but it is weighed. idea, but they actually need to understand that nature also Because our work is that unfortunately we have to weigh’ is useful for them’ (participant 16). Ecosystem services (participant 2). They also did not value experiences pro- were seen as a source of economic value, which was [2] vided by nature to people as much as perspectives 3 and 4 ‘important, because this economic factor is simply the best did, but more than perspective 1 [13]. reason that can convince to protect biodiversity’ (partici- Particularly distinguishing statements for this perspec- pant 2). Participants also believed that countries could tive are presented in Table 2. Here, the utility of biodiver- benefit from their conservation through tourism [12] and sity was also underlined [42, 2, 12], and species extinction that the ecosystem service approach had potential to was seen as reducing possibilities for future generations improve conservation in Europe [3], even if ‘it is a long [33], as ‘it simply limits human possibilities and also way still (. . .) because these arguments are getting impoverishes landscape, impoverishes ecosystem’ (partici- pant 9). Another distinguishing statement was about the accepted slowly’ (participant 2). They also thought that people’s desire to experience wild areas [16], not sup- genetic diversity could be valuable in the development of ported by the participants of this perspective. new drugs [42], or disease-resistant plants and the produc- Summing up, perspective 2 was a utility-oriented per- tion of food adapted to local conditions [15]. Furthermore spective focusing on concrete benefits that people can get they thought that biodiversity would be important for from biodiversity as a basis for conservation. feeding future human populations [11]. As one participant put it: There were such examples where mass production of food, 3.3. Perspective 3: intrinsic value of nature, aesthetics, such industrial [production] with time occurred contra- non-economic values efficient (. . .) Some species of rice were widely propagated as more efficient and they were really more productive but Similarly to perspective 1, participants representing per- with time this productivity decreased and then it occurred spective 3 believed that all species had a right to exist [20]. that, when there were attempts to come back to the old As one of the participants described it: ‘Most of all. . . it species, they were then impossible to find (. . .) Even if we think at this moment that we can, let’s say, mass-produce simply is [emphasis] and just because of this fact there is 358 M. Blicharska and U. Grandin no discussion on that (. . .) for me it is beyond the need of appreciate the idea of spiritual importance of biodiversity discussing if it is important or not. It simply is’ (participant [7]. One of the participants said ‘in my opinion biodiver- 12). Moreover, the participants valued pristine nature sity has value, not related to any spiritual feeling, but regardless of its utilitarian value [25] and believed that biodiversity is important for other reasons, for example biodiversity could be protected in all its aspects, a view for the reason of evolutionary stability’ (participant 4). significantly different from all other perspectives. They Another participant commented on the statement 7: also considered conservation to be a moral matter [4] ‘these are for me such philosophical questions. . . feelings and strongly opposed the notion that humans may extin- can be very [subjective]’ (participant 5). guish any species harmful to their survival [37]. The main difference between this perspective and per- What significantly differentiated this perspective from spective 3 was that participants representing this perspec- the other perspectives was the appreciation of beauty as a tive framed nature as something that was dynamic and basis for conservation [18, 30] and the belief that nature’s variable, not a ‘museum’ [32], as it was ‘a more dynamic diversity made our lives meaningful [41] (Table 2). The system’ (participant 5). The perspective underlined that latter view was considered as very subjective and emo- species extinctions were not necessarily bad [40] (this tional, as one of the participants said: ‘this is such a soft was opinion significantly different from all other perspec- statement, very subjective, but actually it appeals to me. tives; see Table 2), because ‘this is a natural process, This is actually funny because here I am myself and here usually’ and it is ‘not dependent on our valuation – good [in relation to the other statements] more professional’ or bad; it is simply a fact’ (participant 5). However, on the (participant 13). contrary to perspective 1, this perspective did not expli- Moreover, the participants representing this perspec- citly emphasize the nature as interconnected system of tive considered values other than economic as important, relations [31]. Nevertheless, knowledge about ecological for example, the experiences that people get when they processes seemed to be important, which was indicated by interact with nature [13], or the value of nature for produc- the high importance given to statement number 39 ‘as tion of scientific knowledge [21] and to some extent also nature is always changing there is no point in conserving the notion that economic valuation of species implies a a fixed ecosystem state’, distinguishing this perspective justification for the destruction of the biosphere [29], a from all other perspectives. One of the participants belief that distinguishing this group from all other described it as ‘variability is not dependent on humans, perspectives. so humans should not insist to influence that’ (participant To sum up, perspective 3 to some extent resembled 4). The participants of this perspective did not think spe- perspective 1 – in its conviction that biodiversity should cies extinction could be compared to the destruction of a be protected because of its intrinsic value. However, on work of art [8], as ‘the destruction of a work of art is the contrary to perspective 1, this perspective did not caused by our decision; a decision of some madman, but a regard nature as being a large dynamic interconnected human decision, while the extinction of species can be system that needs to be maintained as a whole. Instead, independent of humans’ (participant 4) and ‘in general I it included an ‘emotional’ component, perceiving nature as do not know if a product of nature can be compared at all source of beauty and important experiences. with a product of human mind’ (participant 5). Generally, statements in this perspective illustrate a vision of nature The excluded Q-sort of participant 3 also fell under perspective 3 but participant 3 had sorted particular state- as something that operates independently of humans, their ments in the opposite way to the other participants repre- actions and valuations. senting this perspective (making the perspective bipolar). To sum up, participants representing perspective 4 For example, participant 3 believed that humans were seemed to hold somewhat similar views to the people morally permitted to extinguish species harmful to from perspectives 1 and 3, when it comes to intrinsic human survival [37], did not think that biodiversity is value of biodiversity. In addition, they underlined the good no matter what [36] nor that all species have right importance of natural processes independent of humans. to exist [20], and underlined the need for making choices when protecting biodiversity [38]. 3.5. Consensus statements Several consensus statements emerged from the analysis 3.4. Perspective 4: intrinsic and aesthetic values of (Table 3). For example, the participants representing all nature; importance of natural processes four perspectives definitely did not think that most species Like perspective 3, the participants representing this per- were superfluous [17] and even called this idea ‘absurd’ spective underlined that nature was valuable in itself [25] (participants 7 and 9), as ‘every species has some own place and referred to the beauty of nature as important for in nature, in the ecosystem it has some particular function’ humans [30]. They believed that the knowledge of the (participant 9). As framed by one of the participants: mere existence of species was valuable [34] – a view that significantly distinguished perspective 4 from all I think it cannot be superfluous if it was constructed in other perspectives (Table 2). On the other hand, they did such a way [that] everything complements each other, like not think that species were priceless [6] and did not a chain with many links, if only the smallest one International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 359 Table 3. Consensus statements. Factors 1 234 Z- Q- Z- Q- Z- Q- Z- Q- No. Statement score SV score SV score SV score SV 4* Biodiversity conservation is not a moral matter. −0.341 −1 −0.848 −1 −1.002 −2 −0.272 −1 5 Some species are important symbols of human values, such as freedom. −0.003 0 −0.280 0 0.000 0 0.556 1 17* Most species are superfluous. −2.337 −4 −2.198 −4 −2.148 −4 −2.153 −4 21* Nature is a laboratory for the pursuit of science through which society 1.126 3 0.576 1 1.284 3 1.064 2 gains knowledge, and understanding of the world. 23* Nature provides a place to take calculated risks, to learn the luck of the −0.085 0 −0.086 0 0.000 0 −0.266 −1 weather, to lose and find one’s way, to reflect on success and failure. 32 Nature provides the profoundest historical museum of all. −0.658 −1.267 −0.373 −1 −1.064 35 Genetic diversity is good because each particular species represents the −0.385 −1 −0.632 −1 −0.328 0 0.272 1 success of generations of evolutionary trial and error. Notes: Q-SV, score for particular statement for each factor, from −4 to +4. All listed statements are not significant at P > 0.01, and those flagged with an * are also not significant at P > 0.05, which means that they do not significantly contribute to the extracted particular factors (perspectives). disappears (. . .) it is the same with the body, like it is with conservation, may lead to conflicting interpretations of nature, that even in a body if one cell is missing, which we the conservation policies and obstruct their effective do not really think about, or anything is missing, then it implementation. Amplified conflicts may hinder commu- does not function so well. (Participant 11) nication between people involved in the conservation- related work (Miller et al. 2011) and lead to confusing The participants also did not think that nature should be messages ‘sent’ to the general public by professionals called ‘museum’ [32]. They also thought, at least to some actually having the same overarching goal, i.e. conser- extent, that biodiversity conservation was a moral matter ving biodiversity (Sandbrook et al. 2011). The multilevel [4] and that it was important for people because it could nature of biodiversity governance may amplify these provide knowledge through scientific research [21]. On problems (Levin 2000). Because the assumptions behind the other hand, the participants of all four perspectives conservation may impact the way biodiversity discourse treated statements relating to symbolic [5] or contempla- is shaped and the policies are implemented, it is critical to tive values [23] neutrally, which indicates that they were recognize what values underlie the conservation work of rather indifferent in their relation to such statements. biodiversity professionals. However, such studies are still rare. Our study aimed at filling this gap by addressing one of the new EU member states, where biodiversity 4. Discussion conservation is competing with present economic devel- opment (Blicharska et al. 2011). It is broadly recognized that different types of values are Our results reveal that the conservation professionals central to biodiversity conservation (Chan 2008)and that represent a set of different perspectives on fundamental activities relating to conservation are value-laden biodiversity issues, which is in line with previous (Odenbauhgh 2003). At the same time, there is a gener- research (Robinson 2011; Sandbrook et al. 2011). ally held assumption that conservation professional share Recognizing the different perspectives that exist is an a core set of values and objectives that guide their work important prerequisite to facilitate communication, find (Sandbrook et al. 2011). However, recent debate on the possible synergies, as well as avoid or mitigate conflicts values and advocacy in conservation biology indicates in policy implementation (Durning & Brown 2006). The that there can be many different ‘ideologies’ constituting multiscale and complex issues of high importance (such the base for conservation (Miller et al. 2011;Robinson as biodiversity conservation) are often conflicting in their 2011). Although conservation programmes and policies nature and it may be impossible to build the classical do not always explicitly consider these different ideolo- consensus on them. We suggest that instead of always gies behind conservation, ‘their implementation will trying to even out the existing differences one may favor different values, and project objectives will be attempt to build the biodiversity discourse on these dif- responsive to different ideologies’ (Robinson 2011). ferences (Gustafsson 2013). Recognizing the existing Moreover, it is known from studies on policy implemen- differences and identifying potential conflicts and syner- tation in other fields that implementation of policies is gies may facilitate creation of a discourse that incorpo- ‘filtered through the values of those responsible for rates all relevant, even contradictory, perspectives and action’ (Lloyd et al. 2009). Thus, different understand- makes use of their potential. ings of biodiversity, as well as different goals for 360 M. Blicharska and U. Grandin In our study of conservation professionals’ rationale making that is open and inclusive and takes into account for biodiversity conservation, we revealed four different values represented by different stakeholders. However, the perspectives on the reasons for biodiversity conservation. biodiversity conservation argumentation is relatively weak Three of the perspectives were closely related in their and undeveloped (Blicharska et al. 2011; Representative of understanding of biodiversity as something with intrinsic General Directorate for Environmental Protection, Poland, value and thus could be called ‘biodiversity-centred’. The personal communication, 2013). Moreover, the question of remaining perspective underlined the needs of people and biodiversity conservation is still most commonly taken up the crucial role ecosystems play in delivering different to the public debate in controversial cases and mainly by services to humans, and thus was more anthropocentric. NGOs (Grodzińska-Jurczak & Cent 2011; Niedziałkowski Perspective 3 was bipolar, in the sense that one of the et al. 2013), while the policymakers focus on other societal participants representing this perspective sorted particular issues, particularly economic development. This is illu- statements contrary to the other participants. This illustrates strated, for example, by the fact that in Poland there has both with weakness and the strengths of the Q-methodol- never been any Green Party in the Parliament that would ogy. The downside of the method is potential difficulties in represent an environmental worldview and focus on envir- interpretation of the polarized responses. The strength is onmental issues that are important for the whole society. that it reveals the full range of views regarding a particular In a situation where economic development still plays issue, also marginalized or less common ones. These views a main role, the anthropocentric vision of conservation that are typically the ones that may open up a polarized debate views humans as beneficiaries of nature, through the con- and they are therefore crucial to consider. cept of ecosystem services, can to be particularly useful. However, the general pattern of our findings shows the Considering the nature as something that actually provides existence of two main lines of reasoning for biodiversity us with concrete benefits can counterweight the current conservation. These can be interpreted in terms of the two emphasis on the general economic development. The uti- competing biodiversity discourses commonly found in lity-oriented approach to biodiversity has been a dominant literature: a narrative of nature as an ethical identity and view in environmental discourses since the 1980s (Hajer a narrative of nature as a resource for society (Gustafsson 1995); however, the present notion of ecosystem services 2013). The former describes nature as something repre- underlying this approach is a relatively new concept, and senting intrinsic values, often related to emotions and it is increasingly used in biodiversity related decision- morals, while the latter underlines the utility of nature making (MA 2005; Braat & De Groot 2012). Also in and its importance for social and economic development Poland, the ecosystem services approach to conservation of humans (Van Koppen 2000). These two discourses is rather new, as indicated by most of the interviewees, but seem to be largely contradictory, however, they may also it carries potential for improved management of natural be considered as two complementary discourses of one resources (Rosin et al. 2011). As the ecosystem services common biodiversity storyline that can be used to com- approach helps visualizing the value of biodiversity municate what biodiversity is about (Gustafsson 2013). (Harrison et al. 2010), it can be a useful tool for convin- The mix of perspectives existing among the Polish cing decision-makers and the general society about the conservation professionals could be used to lift the rank need for biodiversity protection (Daily et al. 2009). It of the biodiversity conservation among other societal can also help balance the more intrinsic value-oriented issues in Poland. Since the beginning of 1990s, the coun- approach represented usually by the NGOs and increase try has experienced a large economic development that the chances for partnership-like communication between eventually may threaten the biodiversity. For example, them, the professionals working in the administration and there is an ongoing debate on the prospective shale gas the actual policymakers. extraction that would be both very beneficial for the coun- In the light of the above, the future conservation effort try’s economy and its energy security, but may also entail in Poland, and other new EU member states being in a large environmental costs (Johnson & Boersma 2013). similar situation, should focus not only on the actual Similarly, there is a large-scale development of the trans- creation of protected areas or fulfilling the conservation port infrastructure (Szymalski and Ryter 2004; targets but also on the active and deliberate construction of Jędrzejewski et al. 2006). Furthermore, during the last the new type of conservation discourse. This discourse can two decades Poland has been going through transforma- build on the already existing perspectives and balance the tion involving broad political, economic and social notion of intrinsic value of nature with its utilitarian value. changes, related to the process of institutional change from the hierarchical government-centred approach to a Acknowledgements multilevel, decentralized governance system (Kluvánková- Oravská et al. 2009). Additionally, after entering the EU in We would like to thank the BESAFE researchers for their work on the Q-study statements. We particularly thank Yennie Bredin 2004, Poland accepted many new policies related to envir- for help with methodological issues and useful comments on the onmental issues and biodiversity in particular. 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Journal

International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & ManagementTaylor & Francis

Published: Oct 2, 2015

Keywords: biodiversity professionals; ecosystem services; intrinsic value; perceptions; utilitarian value

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