Publications (FIS)

Assessing multiple values of nature in National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans

authored by
Ranjini Murali, Bosco Lliso, Lelani M. Mannetti, Anna Filyushkina, Sacha Amaruzaman, Ariane M. Amin, Håkon da Silva Hyldmo, Ann Kathrin Koessler, Dominic Lenzi, Natalia Lutti, Evonne Yiu

Around the world, people express a variety of values of nature based on how they relate and interact with it. These values of nature, broadly classified as instrumental, intrinsic, and relational values, underlie environmental policy and decision-making processes. In this paper, our aim was to assess the values of nature that are expressed in national environmental policy documents. We assessed the National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs), the key national policy framework for biodiversity conservation, from 11 countries, representing the five regional United Nations groups. We used qualitative content analysis to identify the value orientation of the statements in the NBSAPs and the main themes under each. Across the 11 NBSAPs, unspecified value orientation statements were the most common (40%), followed by instrumental (38%), intrinsic (14%) and relational (9%) value orientation statements. We identified the main themes in the instrumental value orientation statements as follows: (1) sustainability, (2) natural resources and (3) ecosystem services. The main themes present in the intrinsic value orientation statements were as follows: (1) recognizing intrinsic value, (2) endangered species and habitats, (3) conservation programmes and (4) threats to nature. Relational value orientation statements referenced as follows: (1) duty and responsibility to protect nature, (2) values expressed for nature, (3) national pride and heritage, (4) Indigenous peoples and local community's (IP&LCs) relationships with nature, (5) protecting nature for future generations and (6) equity in the use and access of nature. Our findings indicate that NBSAPs respond to the directive of the Convention on Biological Diversity. They are primarily based on the instrumental values of nature, only rarely considering other ways in which nature is valuable to people. This can reinforce unjust outcomes for human well-being since environmental policies may not reflect the diverse ways in which nature and biodiversity matter to the population. In an increasingly interconnected world, environmental policies are called on to incorporate multiple values to achieve positive outcomes for both human well-being and biodiversity conservation. Read the free Plain Language Summary for this article on the Journal blog.

Institute of Environmental Planning
Environmental Behaviour and Planning
Leibniz Research Centre Energy 2050
External Organisation(s)
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU Berlin)
The Snow Leopard Trust
World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA)
Georgia State University
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
University of Cocody
Centre Suisse de Recherche Scientifique en Côte d'Ivoire (CSRS)
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
University of Twente
University of the Basque Country
Ernst & Young ShinNihon LLC
Center for Sustainability Studies of Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGVces)
Yayasan Cipta
People and Nature
No. of pages
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Electronic version(s) (Access: Open)