Recognising plural valuation of nature when shaping conservation policies: A New Zealand perspective

Dominique Ghijselinck*, Jean Hugé, Jeff McNeill

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Plural valuation of nature seeks to overcome a lack of attention by conservationists to the multiple values people assign to nature. Proponents claim plural valuation makes conservation socially and ecologically more effective. This study analyses conservation laws and uses a survey of New Zealand conservation professionals to investigate the potential of plural valuation for conservation. Document analysis revealed a plurality of values and multiple co-existing framings of nature in New Zealand’s conservation laws. Also, relational values of nature, embedded in the uniqueness of New Zealand’s native fauna and flora, are important to most surveyed conservation professionals and complement instrumental reasons to value nature. However, answers showed various positions on human-nature relationships that correspond to divergent perceptions of the place of introduced species and humans in nature. The New Zealand experience illustrates how multiple values of nature could influence conservation decision-making and management in different ways. Therefore, investigators of plural valuation of nature will need to elicit the divergent underlying understandings of what nature means for individual actors. Failing to do so may lead to an underestimation of the variety of visions of conservation values assigned to nature can sustain, hamper cooperation between conservation stakeholders, frustrate the potential of plural valuation of nature and hence, lead to less effective conservation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number126497
JournalJournal for Nature Conservation
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


  • plural valuation of nature
  • relational values
  • instrumental values
  • biodiversity conservation
  • anthropocentrism
  • ecocentrism
  • New Zealand


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