Arguments for biodiversity conservation: factors influencing their observed effectiveness in European case studies

Rob Tinch*, Rob Bugter, Malgorzata Blicharska, Paula Harrison, John Haslett, Pekka Jokinen, Laurence Mathieu, Eeva Primmer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Making a strong case for biodiversity protection is central to meeting the biodiversity targets in international agreements such as the CBD and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Effective arguments are needed to convince diverse actors that protection is worthwhile, and can play a crucial role in closing the implementation gap between biodiversity policy targets and outcomes. Drawing on a database of arguments from 11 European case studies, along with additional interview and case study material from all 13 case studies of the BESAFE project, we analysed relationships between potential and observed effectiveness of arguments. Our results show that strong logic, robustness, and timing of arguments are necessary but not sufficient conditions for arguments to be effective. We find that use of multiple and diverse arguments can enhance effectiveness by broadening the appeal to wider audiences, especially when arguments are repeated and refined through constructive dialogue. We discuss the role of framing, bundling and tailoring arguments to audiences in increasing effectiveness. Our results provide further support for the current shift towards recognition of value pluralism in biodiversity science and decision-making. We hope our results will help to demonstrate more convincingly the value of biodiversity to stakeholders in decision processes and thus build better cases for its conservation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1763-1788
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Early online date19 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


  • Argument framing
  • Arguments for biodiversity conservation
  • Biodiversity policy
  • Ecosystem services
  • Science policy interfaces


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