Purity and Prejudice: Deluding Ourselves About Biodiversity Conservation

Douglas Sheil*, Erik Meijaard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Tropical conservationists can benefit from understanding human thought processes. We are often less rational than we might believe. Our judgmental biases may sometimes encourage us to overlook or act against major conservation opportunities. Better appreciation of the tricks of the human mind might make us more open-minded, humble, and ready to appreciate different viewpoints. We propose one inherent bias that we believe predisposes conservationists to neglect the value of modified habitats for biodiversity conservation. We call it the 'tainted-nature delusion'. Recognizing such biases can increase our effectiveness in recognizing and achieving viable conservation outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)566-568
Number of pages3
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive bias
  • Conservation
  • Psychology
  • Tainted-nature delusion
  • Tropics

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