Biodiversity conservation as a promising frontier for behavioural science

Kristian Steensen Nielsen, Theresa M. Marteau, Jan M. Bauer, Richard B. Bradbury, Steven Broad, Gayle Burgess, Mark Burgman, Hilary Byerly, Susan Clayton, Dulce Espelosin, Paul J. Ferraro, Brendan Fisher, Emma E. Garnett, Julia P.G. Jones, Mark Otieno, Stephen Polasky, Taylor H. Ricketts, Rosie Trevelyan, Sander van der Linden, Diogo VeríssimoAndrew Balmford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Human activities are degrading ecosystems worldwide, posing existential threats for biodiversity and humankind. Slowing and reversing this degradation will require profound and widespread changes to human behaviour. Behavioural scientists are therefore well placed to contribute intellectual leadership in this area. This Perspective aims to stimulate a marked increase in the amount and breadth of behavioural research addressing this challenge. First, we describe the importance of the biodiversity crisis for human and non-human prosperity and the central role of human behaviour in reversing this decline. Next, we discuss key gaps in our understanding of how to achieve behaviour change for biodiversity conservation and suggest how to identify key behaviour changes and actors capable of improving biodiversity outcomes. Finally, we outline the core components for building a robust evidence base and suggest priority research questions for behavioural scientists to explore in opening a new frontier of behavioural science for the benefit of nature and human wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)550-556
Number of pages7
JournalNature Human Behaviour
Volume5
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful for funding from the Cambridge Conservation Initiative Collaborative, Fund and Arcadia, RSPB and the Gund Institute for Environment, University of Vermont. A.B. is supported by a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit award. E.E.G. was supported by a NERC studentship (grant number NE/L002507/1). We thank P. C. Stern for helpful discussion and feedback.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Springer Nature Limited.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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