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Title: Partnerships between professionals and amateurs in nature conservation : an examination of motivations and discourses in the management of invasive non-native species
Author: Pagès, Marie
ISNI:       0000 0004 6062 5256
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2017
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Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS), or Invasive Alien Species, are organisms introduced by humans outside their natural range that have “negative impacts on biodiversity, socio-economy or human health”. Growing awareness of the ecological and socio-economic impacts of INNS has led to a mushrooming of control attempts across the UK. The costs of such environmental management has grown far in excess of the availability of funds to afford control by professionals and led to widespread involvement of volunteers in INNS management and monitoring. This thesis aimed to identify challenges in collaborations between lay people and experts in ecological restoration and to critically examine some of the claims made about the benefits of citizen participation on the sustainability and democratisation of environmental management and on citizen empowerment. Qualitative research methodology was employed to explore in depth motivations, experiences, intentions and views of volunteers and of the organisations that attempt to enrol them in practical conservation work and monitoring activities. We found that caring for nature, the experience of nature and the activities, and social interactions were the three main drivers of volunteering. Importantly, over time, motivations were shaped by the interplay between individual expectations and experiences with the social and ecological context and changed from identifiable personal goals and functions to more complex attachments to the place and the group. Our research also revealed that while some of these key motivations may be recognised by project managers, their description of costeffectiveness, local ownership and empowerment as complementary volunteering goals were often not aligned in practice. Moreover, decision-making may remain largely expert-based, with volunteers not perceiving their knowledge to be valid or a useful contribution to decision-making. Enhancing the sustainability and democratic nature of INNS management requires reflexive practice of citizen engagement that explicitly considers different interests and views but also invites citizens to reflect on their role in the co-production of conservation practice and knowledge.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Natural Environment Research Council ; Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Nature conservation ; Volunteers ; Introduced organisms