Joint Symposium: Multiple Values of Nature

We are very excited to announce a Joint Meeting of the British Ecological Society Journal, People and Nature, and the Valuing Nature Programme. The meeting will be an international, broad-scope, interdisciplinary event reflecting the ethos of both People and Nature and the Valuing Nature Programme. It will cover many aspects of the multiple values of nature and will broadly fall under three themes as outlined below. The meeting aims to foster cross-disciplinary research collaborations and inform the agenda in this growing and fast-moving research area.

The event will be held at Bristol’s We The Curious from 2 - 3 March 2020.

Abstract submission & registration 

Meeting Topics

Balancing Multiple Values: Opportunities and challenges

Differences in the way humans conceptualise and value nature arise through diverse disciplinary, theoretical, cultural, and political contexts. In recognition of the varied ways nature is valued, this theme focuses on the tensions, contestations and opportunities occurring when multiple values of nature come into contact, and what, if anything, to do about it. Papers that explore aspects of ethics, governance, disciplinary developments, and the different forms of politics that might be required to balance or accept multiple nature values, are particularly encouraged. In the environmental sciences this has been an area of active research for the last few decades, resulting in a range of mathematical models and tools aimed at examining the consequences of land management choices on environmental or cultural resources, exploring the trade-offs that result. Papers that explore the challenges of blending quantitative approaches with qualitative values, for instance through deliberation and participation, and drawing on interdisciplinary approaches are also of key interest. In focusing on the dynamics of balancing multiple values of nature in a range of contexts, the session aims to generate ways forward regarding how and when multiple values might usefully and respectfully be brought together

Values in action: Exploring processes of change and transformation

How do values linked to the natural world relate to wider processes of change and transformation in social-ecological systems? A long standing and persistent thread of sustainability and resilience discourse is concerned with the relationship between values and action, and indeed, much has been written about the challenge of variously translating, communicating and embedding affirmative visions and mandates for nature into the messy world of practice. Relational approaches to people and nature encourage us to explore the practical contexts in which values take shape and exert influence, be that through the institutions we build, the landscapes we plan, the businesses we create, or the communities we grow. In this session, we invite consideration of the many and diverse ways values are fostered, enacted and enabled, but also impeded, as they move through different sites and arena of state and civil society action.

Beyond the Usual Suspects: Finding Diverse Support for Nature Protection

Globally many populations are becoming increasingly detached from nature as the populations become more urbanized and indoor recreation displaces outdoor recreation. Interaction with the wild is now no longer necessary, normal, or possible for many people. These changing relationships with nature have dealt a blow to conservation, as evidenced by the shrinking and aging memberships of many Conservation NGOs. To reverse this trend and expand the base of conservation beyond the mostly-white, educated core, conservationists must utilize new methods that engage with a changing public. This symposium will showcase diverse ways that conservation practitioners have successfully motivated a new cadre of conservationists in novel ways in a variety of settings and with diverse populations. It will also explore the emerging values research that underpins such engagement—research that addresses and integrates values, identity, finance, motivations and inclusion in a sustainability context. Collectively, the symposium will elucidate how and why engagement techniques have evolved from those used in recruiting the ‘old guard’ of conservation. By embracing novel motivations and approaches, perhaps conservation can become more inclusive, imaginative, and successful.

We welcome abstract submissions for both posters and talks to these themes.

Horizon scanning workshop 

We will be conducting a horizon scanning exercise of emerging issues in the values of nature, looking to identify important issues that are not presently well understood.

We encourage all those interested in this research area to contribute to this workshop of emerging issues in the multiple values of nature, by completing a form to suggest issues to be discussed. We welcome contributions from anyone, whether they plan to attend the meeting or not. The form will be available soon.

Abstract submission & registration are now open on the British Ecological website