Advancing the integration of human behaviour into biodiversity decision-making

Date: 01, Aug, 2019
Author(s):   Matthew Selinske
Publisher: RMIT University

PhD Thesis

Reversing biodiversity loss is one of the great challenges that we face as a society. Human behaviour, individually and collectively, is the driver behind this loss; hence understanding and changing human behaviour is key to preventing further degradation of biodiversity. It is increasingly recognised that the social sciences have much to contribute towards a more effective knowledge-, theory- and evidence-base to underpin biodiversity conservation. While there is already a body of work within the conservation social sciences literature that contributes knowledge and understanding of the human and social elements in social-ecological systems, further research specifically focussed on human behaviour is needed. Greater integration of insights from psychology into conservation science, policy, and practice is necessary, but multiple challenges exist.

This thesis builds on existing literature bases in the social sciences and conservation
psychology and engages insights from other disciplines to advance the integration of human behaviour into conservation science and practice. To do this, I specifically: outline methods to prioritise human behaviours impacting biodiversity and demonstrate them with case studies; use a novel elicitation method to generate effective interventions and implementation considerations to change a specific high-impact behaviour; undertake a systematic literature review to examine the existing methods used to predict human behaviours; and evaluate the behavioural outcomes of financial incentives in conservation programs.