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Saturday, 1 September 2012

Why is ECCB2012 interesting for a social scientist?

Conservation biology belongs to natural sciences however, conservation biology intends to go beyond being a pure scientific field and seeks to have an impact on nature conservation.
There are many questions relevant to conservation biologists, which need the participation of social scientists, e.g.: What is behind the conflicts of hunters, other land users and nature conservationists? What is the motivation of farmers to engage in agri-environmental schemes? Can we calculate the benefits of ecosystem services, such as pollination in a certain biodiversity rich area in economic terms? 

In this conference many presentations referred to social-ecological systems which  can be a powerful conceptual framework to discuss nature conservation issues both from scientific and from management point of view. It opens room for interdisciplinary research and science-policy plus science-society dialogue.  Involvement of stakeholders in conservation management and good governance were also among the frequently used terms.

Many sessions included social science perspectives as well: e.g. conservation in the socio-economic context, land sharing-land sparing, ecosystem services, nature conservation in agricultural areas, just to mention a few. Some of the speakers in these sessions were  social scientists.

I think social scientist could learn a lot from natural scientists in this conference, and I hope that the presentations given by social scientists were also useful for natural scientists. The dialogue has started.

Eszter Kovács, PhD
Szt István University, Hungary

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