8. Citizen science and nature conservation

  1. David W. Macdonald5 and
  2. Katherine J. Willis6
  1. Jonathan Silvertown1,
  2. Christina D. Buesching2,
  3. Susan K. Jacobson3 and
  4. Tony Rebelo4

Published Online: 25 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118520178.ch8

Key Topics in Conservation Biology 2

Key Topics in Conservation Biology 2

How to Cite

Silvertown, J., Buesching, C. D., Jacobson, S. K. and Rebelo, T. (2013) Citizen science and nature conservation, in Key Topics in Conservation Biology 2 (eds D. W. Macdonald and K. J. Willis), John Wiley & Sons, Oxford. doi: 10.1002/9781118520178.ch8

Editor Information

  1. 5

    Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, Recanati-Kaplan Centre, Tubney House, University of Oxford, UK

  2. 6

    Biodiversity Institute, Oxford Martin School, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, UK

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Environment, Earth and Ecosystems, Faculty of Science, Open University, Milton Keynes, UK

  2. 2

    Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, Recanati-Kaplan Centre, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

  3. 3

    Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA

  4. 4

    Threatened Species Research Unit, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Claremont, South Africa

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 FEB 2013
  2. Published Print: 15 APR 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470658765

Online ISBN: 9781118520178



  • biodiversity;
  • citizen science;
  • data validation;
  • nature conservation;
  • volunteer motivation;
  • volunteer recruitment;
  • volunteer training


The general public and corporations are both stakeholders in the biosphere and can be involved in nature conservation through citizen science and corporate social responsibility (CSR). This involvement can take many forms, ranging from volunteer-based environmental clean-up days and implementation of species conservation measures. This chapter considers four key issues that need to be taken into account when working with volunteers: recruitment, motivation, training and deployment, and data validation. It discusses the circumstances in which a citizen science approach should offer benefits for nature conservation projects. The advantages of using citizen science volunteers in conservation research are clear: they can provide an inexpensive and potentially large labour force, they usually contribute at least indirectly to the costs of the research, and the volunteers themselves gain fulfillment and knowledge