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Doctoral thesis, 2019

Environmental policy for ecosystem services and biodiversity : preferences for fish conservation and instruments for forest policy

Danley, Brian


Threats to ecosystem services and biodiversity are some of the most important contemporary policy problems facing the planet. Consisting of four papers, the motivation for this thesis is threefold: to understand the different ways of defining the benefits humans receive from the environment, how the public may be able to understand more nuanced scientific aspects of biodiversity, and how forest policy instruments are used to encourage family forest owners to safeguard ecosystem services and biodiversity on their properties. Paper I describes the different ways in which ecosystem services are uniquely defined in the broad ecosystem services literature. Paper II investigates how respondents to a stated preferences survey value a little-known species with an important biodiversity characteristic relative to a familiar species of lesser biodiversity importance. The interpretation of Paper II is that using multiple flagship species targeted toward different members of the general public may be a way to use unfamiliar yet ecologically important species for public outreach purposes. Papers III and IV investigate how family forest owners in Sweden interact with and think about forest policy instruments aimed at preserving biodiversity on their forest properties. The result of Paper I shows that conceptual ecosystem services definitions exist on a spectrum with some definitions being more characteristic of natural sciences, some more characteristic of economics, and some existing between the natural science and economics definitions. Paper II confirms the appeal of an unfamiliar species with a unique biodiversity characteristic relative to a more familiar species is not limited by geographic distance, but the appeal of such biodiversity may include areas close to its habitat. Paper III shows Swedish family forest owners who are interested in taking environmental efforts on their properties and stay out of forest stewardship certification may be more skeptical of state action to secure biodiversity in Swedish forests. Finally, Paper IV shows the benefits of targeting different kinds of instruments to different kinds of ownership objectives may be limited. Findings from this thesis may contribute to better environmental policy by improving conservation public outreach efforts and by clarifying the opportunities and challenges of engaging family forest owners in achieving public policy goals.


conservation, flagship species, endemic species, forest policy, environmental responsibility, family forest owners, non-industrial private forest owners

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2019, number: 2019:4
ISBN: 978-91-7760-326-9, eISBN: 978-91-7760-327-6
Publisher: Department of Forest Economics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Danley, Brian
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Economics

UKÄ Subject classification

Forest Science

URI (permanent link to this page)