Conservation Means Behavior

Most instances of deteriorating environmental conditions are caused by human behavior. Although there are certainly instances of such environmental conditions developing from natural processes, most are largely the result of human activity. Drivers of phenomena such as climate change, loss of species’ habitats, and ocean acidification rarely are the result of malicious intent, but rather the con- sequence of the lifestyles of billions of humans. Accordingly, efforts to promote conservation must change behavior (Ehrlich&Kennedy 2005; Schultz&Kaiser 2012). This fundamental link between conservation and behavior has been noted in a number of recent publications. Mascia et al. (2003) state that “Biodiversity conservation is a human endeavor: initiated by humans, designed by humans, and intended to modify human behavior.. ..”Cowling (2005) calls this realization “an epiphany for.. .natural scientists.” And Balmford and Cowling (2006) note that “conservation is primarily not about biology but about people and the choices they make.” Here I would go one step further and propose that conservation is a goal that can only be achieved by changing behavior. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Schultz, P. W. (2011). Conservation means behavior. Conservation Biology, 25, 1080-1083., which has been published in final form at 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2011.01766.x. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.