Social and ecological values: Charting a course
forward for SCB Europe post-2020

Organized by: John Piccolo, Karlstad University; Sanna Stålhammar, Swedish Agricultural University

The Society for Conservation Biology was founded in 1985. Our stated mission was and still is “To advance the science and practice of conserving Earth’s biological diversity.” From the outset, society founders recognized the multidisciplinary nature of solving conservation problems. 

Alongside the growth of SCB, the international community recognized the impending biodiversity crisis, leading to, e.g., the Convention for Biological Diversity and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.   By the early 2000s nature conservation in general began to focus on ecosystem services, i.e., the protection of biodiversity as a means to deliver goods and services to humans. Concepts such as ecosystem services, “natural capital”, and “nature’s contributions to people” are now central to the discipline of conservation biology as well as nature conservation at large. The widely-hailed Dasgupta Review is the latest example focusing on the economics of biodiversity. 

For many, however, such utilitarian values are incommensurable with the values inherent in both cultural and biological diversity. Whereas cultural diversity values have rightly gained much attention in conservation in recent years (although obviously not enough), ecological values appear to be increasingly marginalized. For example, the ecocentric values that were, and still are, central normative postulates of SCB seem to be at odds with much of mainstream conservation. 

How can SCB chart a course forward through a conservation landscape that is increasingly utilitarian? On one hand our normative postulates collide with mainstream approaches. On the other hand we are part of the broader neoliberal lifestyle, and we are increasingly implicated as “fines and fences” or “colonial conservationists” or even “green liars”.  How can we balance social and ecological values and justice in the post 2020 conservation world - how much “good life” is too much for individual people or the collective human enterprise if we wish there to be good lives for the remainder of Earth’s biodiversity? 

The aim is of this panel is to lay the groundwork for an SCB task force or working group that will address research and policy aspects of social and ecological values. We will begin with a panel discussion at the Fall 2021 SCB Europe Webinar, and continue with a symposium at ECCB 2022 in Prague. We envision a summary article for an SCB journal, and look forward to a broader collection of articles for a special journal issue on social and ecological values in conservation.


Presentations

Socio-psychological factors, beyond knowledge, predict people’s engagement in pollinator conservation and reveal new opportunities for increasing uptake
- Jessica Knapp (Lund University, Lund, Sweden; University of Exeter, Truro, United Kingdom)

Learning from multi-method participatory approaches for protected area management
- Veronica Lo (University of British Columbia, Canada)

Spatial targeting to achieve the dual biodiversity goals – ecosystem service provisioning and species conservation as such
- Henrik G. Smith (Department of Biology & Centre of Environmental and Climate Science, Sweden)