Leveraging Biodiversity Action From Plural Values: Transformations of Governance Systems

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In this paper, we argue that leveraging plural values into action for biodiversity requires a focus on transforming the biodiversity governance system. We draw on Donella Meadows’ concept of Leverage Points, which outlines the “depth” of intervention in order to shift a system toward sustainability. Engaging with deep leverage points (system intent and goals) is argued to lead to greater transformation than engaging with shallow leverage points (system design and materials). We outline how embracing plural values of biodiversity requires changes at deeper systems properties within governance systems to create space to reflect diversity in values and knowledge systems, and move away from a focus on commodification of nature’s contributions to people. We point toward political and policy sciences to highlight frameworks and concepts for understanding governance system transformation. We conclude with a call for meaningful engagement with such sciences in ongoing research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number609853
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Publication statusPublished - 04.06.2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Berta Martin-Lopez for her early contribution to launching the ideas that finally evolved into this manuscript. The authors also acknowledge and thank all project members for their ideas and input in the early stages of this work, even where they are not listed as authors. Full details of project members and their research are available at https://leveragepoints.org A-IH-M acknowledges EU funding through the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant number 840207. Funding. This research was funded by the Volkswagen Stiftung and the Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur (Grant No. A112269). A-IH-M acknowledges European Union?s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme through the Marie Sklodowska?Curie grant number 840207.

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2021 Leventon, Duşe and Horcea-Milcu.

    Research areas

  • biodiversity, leverage points, natures contribution to people, political science, sustainability transformations, systems thinking
  • Ecosystems Research