Conservation knowledge, attitudes, behaviour and values 

Conservation needs more inclusive and participatory approaches.

In our team, we use an action research paradigm to enable the co-production of knowledge with different actors each with their own value systems, world-views, and aspirations.

Engaging from youth in urban areas in Finland to indigenous adults in rural Kenya, we use citizen science as a participatory research tool, but also as an approach to build social capital and to foster supportive attitudes, behaviour and values for conservation. Additionally, we aim to understand the potential of education and other behavioural change initiatives as key point interventions to enable transformative change towards sustainability.

Projects and team members

  • Impact of environmental education on conservation effectiveness in Madagascar / Aina Brias
  • Knowledge co-production in carnivore research / Miquel Torrents Ticó
  • Folklore as a source of information of changing values and attitudes towards nature / Mar Cabeza and Álvaro Fernández Llamazares
  • Monitoring waterbird populations in Lake Turkana, North Kenya / Sara Fraixedas and Daniel Burgas
  • Multispecies education with urban rats and other "unloved others" / Anttoni Kervinen and Tuomas Aivelo

Citizen science

Bird clubs in North Kenya empowers local people to survey birds and to observe the effects of conservation efforts on fauna.

Helsinki Urban Rat Project works with lower and upper secondary school students to set track plates to observe rats and collects stakeholder-generated data from pest management companies and trash pick-up services.


Key references

  • Brias Guinart, A., Aivelo, T., Högmander, M., Heriniaina, R., & Cabeza, M. 2023. A better place for whom? Practitioners’ perspectives on the purpose of environmental education in Finland and Madagascar. Journal of Environmental Education54(3), 163-180. Open Access

  • Rautio, P., Tammi, T., Aivelo, T., Hohti, R., Kervinen, A., Saari, M. 2022. “For whom? By whom?”: critical perspectives of participation in ecological citizen science. Cultural Studies of Science Education, doi: 10.1007/s11422-021-10099-9. Open Access

  • Brias-Guinart, A.,Korhonen-Kurki, K., & Cabeza, M. (2022). Typifying conservation practitioners’ views on the role of education. Conservation Biology 36:e13893, doi: 10.1111/cobi.13893 Open Access

  • Aivelo, T., Huovelin, S. 2020. Combining formal education and citizen science: A case study on students' perceptions of learning and interest in an urban rat project. Environmental Education Research 26(3):324-340. doi: 10.1080/13504622.2020.1727860 Open Access

  • Fernández-Llamazares, Á., López-Baucells, A., Rocha, R., Andriamitandrina, S.F.M., Andriatafika, Z.E., Burgas, D., Temba, E.M., Torrent, L., Cabeza, M. 2018. Are sacred caves still safe havens for the endemic bats of Madagascar? Oryx 52(2): 271–275. doi: 10.1017/S0030605317001648. Open Access

  • Pyhälä, A., Eklund, J., McBride, MF, Rakotoarijaona, MA, Cabeza, M. 2019. Managers’ perceptions of protected area outcomes in Madagascar highlight the need for species monitoring and knowledge transfer. Conservation Science and Practice 1 (2), e6. Open Access