Insight
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Publications in Biological conservation by NOMIS researchers

NOMIS Researcher(s)

November 16, 2023

Biological conservation practices and approaches take many forms. Conservation projects do not only differ in their aims and methods, but also concerning their conceptual and normative background assumptions and their underlying motivations and objectives. We draw on philosophical distinctions from the ethics of conservation to explain variances of different positions on conservation projects along six dimensions: (1) conservation ideals, (2) intervention intuitions, (3) the moral considerability of nonhuman beings, (4) environmental values, (5) views on nature and (6) human roles in nature. The result is a map of the moral landscape of biological conservation, on which these six dimensions are layered. This map functions as a heuristic tool to understand conceptual and normative foundations of specific conservation projects, which we will illustrate with four paradigmatic examples: the Pisavaara Strict Nature Reserve, Predator Free New Zealand, the Oostvaardersplassen Nature Reserve and the Great Green Wall Project. With this map as a heuristic tool, we aim to conceptually illuminate disagreement and clarify misunderstandings between representatives of different environmental protection strategies and to show that the same project can be supported (or criticised) on different grounds.

Research field(s)
Biology, Environmental Sciences

NOMIS Researcher(s)

January 24, 2023

Values have always tended to play a central role in discourse on the environment, a tendency which is currently particularly evident in the biodiversity context. Traditionally, arguments about the environment have invoked instrumental value to highlight the necessity or utility of a healthy environment for people and intrinsic value to emphasize the importance of protecting nature for its own sake. More recently, this value dichotomy has been challenged, and the notion of a third value category – relational value – has been introduced into the political and social conservation discussion. In the field of environmental philosophy, the idea of a third category of environmental value already has a longer tradition. This article describes and compares several philosophical accounts of third-category environmental value to contribute to a better characterization of relational value and thus to a better understanding of the role this type of value can play in environmental discourse and policy.

Research field(s)
Philosophy