What can we do for nature? A systematic research approach to pro-nature conservation behaviours

Thesis


Barbett, L. 2021. What can we do for nature? A systematic research approach to pro-nature conservation behaviours. Thesis
AuthorsBarbett, L.
Qualification namePhD
Abstract

Nature is in trouble. The current levels of anthropogenic biodiversity loss have been classed by experts as a mass extinction. This is likely to have grave consequences for humanity. However, with humanity causing the biodiversity loss, it can also be fought by humanity, presuming action is taken. Research is needed on which actions can be taken by the wider public and how people can be encouraged to do so. There is a multitude of literature on general pro-environmental behaviours, however, conservation practitioners lament the lack of research on nature specific actions. This thesis set out to create a systematic research approach to those nature specific actions which were named pro-nature conservation behaviours. Based on research in pro-environmental behaviours, four steps to this research were set: (1) Defining and measuring the behaviour; (2) Understanding the antecedents of the behaviour; (3) Developing targeted interventions; (4) Evaluating the interventions. This thesis completed the first step and provided some first insights into the second step.
Pro-nature conservation behaviours were defined based on both their ecological impact on nature and their goal orientation, meaning they need to objectively support nature conservation and subjectively be done by people with the aim to support nature conservation. An expert ranked list of possible behaviours was created, including small actions that one can take in their own garden as well as more politically driven actions, such as contacting local government about nature conservation issues. Then, using psychometric methods, a questionnaire scale measuring tool, the Pro-Nature Conservation Behaviour Scale (ProCoBS), was developed and validated. This resulted in a long and short form for adults, as well as a child version including only behaviours accessible to people under the ages of 16-18. The scale was found to have two subscales, one concerning behaviours in the garden and the other one civil actions.
An overview of the adoption of pro-nature conservation behaviours in the public and influences of some demographic factors showed that while there is engagement, this could be improved and demographic variables impact behaviour. For example, women acted more often than men and people living rurally acted more often than people living in urban areas. Age also had an impact, interestingly showing different directions depending on the subscale. Finally, the influences of variables known from general behavioural research as well as research on pro-environmental behaviours on pro-nature conservation behaviours were examined. Based on the findings the efficiency of focusing on the so-called Value-Action gap was questioned, suggesting the Intention-Behaviour Gap to be more easily bridged. Further, it was shown that both an approach building on the Theory of Planned Behaviour, as well as an approach centring nature connectedness, could provide worthwhile insights into pro-nature conservation behaviours. Here, again, slight differences between the subscales were found.
Connecting people to nature could be a key step in the efforts to protect biodiversity. Future research may profit from focusing not only on how to use nature connectedness to encourage pro-nature conservation behaviours but also how pro-nature conservation behaviours can improve nature connectedness.

Keywordsnature connectedness; pro-nature conservation behaviour; pro-environmental behaviour; scale development
Year2021
PublisherUniversity of Derby
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/626146
hdl:10545/626146
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Publication process dates
Deposited08 Dec 2021, 15:49
Publication datesDec 2021
ContributorsRichardson, Miles (Advisor), Stupple, Edward J.N. (Advisor) and Sweet, Michael (Advisor)
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https://repository.derby.ac.uk/item/945vw/what-can-we-do-for-nature-a-systematic-research-approach-to-pro-nature-conservation-behaviours

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