• Open Access

Multiple pathways to conservation success

Authors

  • Corey C. Phillis,

    1. Earth2Ocean Research Group, Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Authors contributed equally, listed in reverse alphabetical order.

  • Sacha M. O’Regan,

    1. Earth2Ocean Research Group, Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Authors contributed equally, listed in reverse alphabetical order.

  • Stephanie J. Green,

    1. Earth2Ocean Research Group, Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Authors contributed equally, listed in reverse alphabetical order.

  • Jeanette E.B. Bruce,

    1. Earth2Ocean Research Group, Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Authors contributed equally, listed in reverse alphabetical order.

  • Sean C. Anderson,

    1. Earth2Ocean Research Group, Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jennifer N. Linton,

    1. Earth2Ocean Research Group, Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Earth2Ocean Research Derby,

    Search for more papers by this author
    • Participants in the 2011 Earth2Ocean Research Derby are listed in the acknowledgements.

  • Brett Favaro

    1. Earth2Ocean Research Group, Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada
    2. Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, BC, V9R 5S5, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author

  • Editor Dirk Roux

Corey C. Phillis, Earth2Ocean Research Group, Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada. Tel: 778-782-9427; fax: 778-782-3496. E-mail: cphillis@sfu.ca

Abstract

Conservation successes can and do happen, however, the process by which society achieves them remains unclear. Using a novel culturomics approach, we analyse word usage within digitized texts to assess the chronological order in which scientists, the public, and policymakers engage in the conservation process for three prominent conservation issues: acid rain in North America, global DDT contamination, and the overexploitation of African elephants for ivory. Variation in the order and magnitude of sector responses among the three issues emphasizes that there are multiple pathways to conservation success and that science is just one component. Our study highlights that while scientists can initiate the process, policy change does not occur in the absence of public interest. We suggest that the fate of conservation action is not solely determined by the scientific soundness of the conservation plan, but rather requires the engagement of scientists, public, and policy makers alike.

Ancillary