Decision-making for nature’s contributions to people in the Cape Floristic Region: the role of values, rules and knowledge

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Nature conservation on privately owned land depends on land managers’ decision-making. Interactions between values, rules and knowledge (vrk) underpin decision-making, thus, it is important to understand these interactions to support conservation intentions. We investigated how different sets of vrk determine the decision-making context regarding the management and conservation of renosterveld, a critically endangered ecosystem in the Cape Floristic Region, and how this relates to land managers’ perceptions of nature’s contributions to people (NCP). From interviews with thirty land managers, we identified nine value types, four rule types, three knowledge types and 13 different NCP. We found that different vrk combinations can be grouped into three decision-making contexts: Bottom-up conservation, Top-down conservation and Utility. Each context is associated with the perception of different beneficial and detrimental NCP. Regulating NCP are perceived across all contexts, whereas more non-material NCP are associated with a Bottom-up conservation context and relational values, such as family ties. The prevalence of relational values in Bottom-up and Top-down conservation contexts illustrates the complexity and non-substitutability of the dynamic relationships between renosterveld and people. This indicates the importance of plural valuation in nature conservation to foster diverse NCP provided by renosterveld.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSustainability Science
Number of pages22
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 08.01.2021