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Biodiversity and Health: Implications for Conservation

Davies ZG, Dallimer M, Fisher JC & Fuller RA (2019) Biodiversity and Health: Implications for Conservation. Pp. 283-294 in: Marselle MR, Stadler J, Korn H, Irvine KN & Bonn A (eds) Biodiversity and Health in the Face of Climate Change. Springer International Publishing, Cham, Switzerland.

The human health and well-being benefits of contact with nature are becoming increasingly recognised and well understood, yet the implications of nature experiences for biodiversity conservation are far less clear. Theoretically, there are two plausible pathways that could lead to positive conservation outcomes. The first is a direct win-win scenario where biodiverse areas of high conservation value are also disproportionately beneficial to human health and well-being, meaning that the two sets of objectives can be simultaneously and directly achieved, as long as such green spaces are safeguarded appropriately. The second is that experiencing nature can stimulate people’s interest in biodiversity, concern for its fate, and willingness to take action to protect it, therefore generating conservation gains indirectly. To date, the two pathways have rarely been distinguished and scarcely studied. Here we consider how they may potentially operate in practice, while acknowledging that the mechanisms by which biodiversity might underpin human health and well-being benefits are still being determined.

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