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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2014

Biodiversity priority areas and religions - a global analysis of spatial overlap

Mikusinski, Grzegorz; Possingham, Hugh; Blicharska, Malgorzata


Numerous solutions have been proposed to slow the accelerating loss of biodiversity. Thinking about biodiversity conservation has not, however, been incorporated into the everyday activities of most individuals and nations. Conservation scientists need to refocus on strategies that reshape ethical attitudes to nature and encourage pro-environmental thinking and lifestyles. Religions are central to basic beliefs and ethics that influence people's behaviour and should be considered more seriously in biodiversity discourse. Using data from the World Religion Database we conducted an analysis of the spatial overlap between major global religions and seven templates for prioritizing biodiversity action. Our analysis indicated that the majority of these focal areas are situated in countries dominated by Christianity, and particularly the Roman Catholic denomination. Moreover, the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches appear to have the greatest per capita opportunity to influence discourse on biodiversity, notwithstanding the role of other religious communities in some key biodiversity areas.


Biodiversity templates; environmental attitudes; environmental ethics; religion

Published in

2014, volume: 48, number: 1, pages: 17-22

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Possingham, Hugh
Blicharska, Malgorzata
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment

UKÄ Subject classification

Religious Studies

Publication Identifiers


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