Ms Gill Ainsworth
Valuing birds: understanding the relationship between social values and the conservation of Australian threatened birds
Wildlife and nature can provide a significant contribution to the spirit, imagination and well-being of Australians through socio-psychological values. These can be recreational; consumptive (eg. hunting) and non-consumptive (watching and enjoying in the wild or through various media); intellectual and scientific (including educational); aesthetic, artistic and cultural; and religious and symbolic. These values have both a quantitative aspect that can be measured (eg. wildlife tourism) and a qualitative aspect that cannot (e.g. beauty).
Gill's PhD research examines relationships between people’s values, attitudes and behaviours with respect to threatened bird conservation in Australia and investigates how people’s values affect conservation efforts and outcomes for threatened birds.
Three main research questions are addressed: 1. How do Australians value threatened birds?; 2. Who is involved in threatened bird conservation and how do they communicate their values; and 3. Do the values held for particular species of threatened birds affect the success of conservation efforts?
This research took part in five major stages using a multi-method approach to examine values held by different sectors of Australian society:
1. A new typology of 12 avifaunal value orientations was developed to describe the different ways Australians value birds.
2. A stakeholder analysis identified 74 key informants who were interviewed about the influence of stakeholder values, and those of other sectors of society, on threatened bird conservation.
3. Six qualitative case studies (three matched pairs) of Australian threatened birds investigated why some taxa, despite similar ecological and physical characteristics, receive much greater conservation investment than others (Pair 1: Capricorn and Alligator Rivers Yellow Chats; Pair 2: Orange-bellied Parrot and Swift Parrot; Pair 3: Carnaby's and Baudin's Black-cockatoos).
4. A key document analysis explored which values are communicated by conservation experts.
5. Three quantitative online surveys of 3,818 members of the public and birdwatchers examined Australian attitudes towards threatened birds.
This research establishes links between societal values for birds and conservation outcomes and demonstrates public support for threatened bird conservation. It provides advice to key decision-makers about policy-level actions for successful threatened bird management, guidance about employing social metrics to prioritise conservation efforts and recommendations for developing effective communication strategies.
Gill is currently writing her thesis.
Awards and grants
- $1,140 EHSE SupervisorTravel Grant
- $1,000 EHSE Conference Travel Grant
- $6,000 The Nature Conservancy Applied Conservation Award 2011. Black-Cockatoo Case Study.
- $1,100 EHSE Conference Travel Grant
- $1,300 EHSE Supervisor Travel Grant
- $500 CDU 3 Minute Thesis People's Choice winner
- $5,000 Birds Australia Stuart Leslie Bird Research Award 2010
- $400 EHSE Supplementary Funding Grant
|2012||Conference Paper||A tale of two white-tails: Exploring the social values of Baudin's and Carnaby's Black-cockatoos. Presented to Ecological Society of Australia - 2012 Annual Conference, Melbourne, Australia (3-7 December) (Presented to Ecological Society of Australia, Melbourne, Australia (3-7 December) , 2012).|
|2012||Conference Paper||From attitudes to action: how understanding public values can increase the success of threatened bird conservation. Presented to the 3rd European Congress of Conservation Biology, Glasgow, Scotland (28 Aug - 1 Sept) (2012).|
|2012||Book Chapter||in Mokhtar, M. and Halim, S.A. (eds.) RIMBA2: Regional Sustainable Development in Malaysia and Australia, LESTARI, Bangi 62-69 (LESTARI: UKM. Malaysia. , 2012).|
|2012||Conference Paper||From attitudes to action: how understanding public values can increase the success of threatened bird conservation. Society for Conservation Biology - Oceania Regional Meeting (21-23 Sept) (2012).|
|2012||Magazine Article||Scrubfowl Shenanigans. Nature Territory: Newsletter of the Northern Territory Field Naturalists Club October, (2012).|
|2011||Conference Paper||A bird in the hand: Worth two in the bush?. Presented to the CDU Open Day 2011, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia (28 Aug) (2011).|
|2011||Conference Paper||The Case of the Trumped-up Corella: How Do Human Values Bias Wildlife Conservation?. Presented to the 25th International Congress of Conservation Biology, Auckland, New Zealand (5-9 Dec) (2011).|
|2010||Conference Paper||Social Values of Australian Threatened Birds. Presented to the School for Environmental Research, CDU 25 May. (2010).|
|2010||Conference Paper||Coins to Conservation: How do the Values of Avifauna to Australian Society Affect Conservation Outcomes?. Presented to ESA 2010 Annual Conference, Canberra, 6-10 Dec. (2010).|
|2010||Journal Article||Who owns feral camels? Implications for managers of land and resources in central Australia. Special Issue of The Rangelands Journal. 32, 87-93 (2010).|
|2010||Conference Paper||Twitching for Values in the Human Domain: How do Australians Value Native Birds?. Presented to AWMS conference, Torquay, 1-3 Dec. (2010). at <http://www.onqconferences.com.au/events/awms10/>|
|2010||Conference Proceedings||What's the value of a bird? Applying wildlife value typologies to Australian Birds. The Australian Sociological Association Conference (2010).|
|2010||Conference Paper||The values of wildlife embodied in protected areas. Presented to RIMBA 2, the CDU-UKM-UNIMAS Regional Symposium and Workshop on Sustainable Natural Resource Management, Malaysia 12-14 Oct. (2010).|
|2009||Book Chapter||in Ainsworth, G.B. and Garnett, S.T. (eds.) RIMBA: Sustainable forest livelihoods in Malaysia and Australia. LESTARI, Bangi, Malaysia 59-63 (Institute of Environment and Development (LESTARI), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), 2009). at <http://espace.cdu.edu.au/view/cdu:9011>|
|2009||Conference Paper||Joint management and multiple use in a climate change era. Presented to the CDU-UKM-UNIMAS Regional Symposium and Workshop on Sustainable Natural Resource Management, Bali 23-24 April. (2009).|
|2009||Book||RIMBA: Sustainable forest livelihoods in Malaysia and Australia. (LESTARI: UKM, Malaysia., 2009).|
|2008||Report||NAILSMA/TS - CRC – Dugong and marine turtle project partner feedback survey report. 40pps (School for Environmental Research, CDU., 2008).|
|2008||Conference Paper||Review of legislation and regulations relating to feral camel management. Presented to the Camel Science Conference, Desert Knowledge CRC, Canberra 8 Dec. (2008).|
|2008||Conference Paper||Feral Camels in Australia: A Legislative Review. Presented to SER Seminar Series, CDU 11 April. (2008).|
|2008||Report||Review of legislation and regulations relating to feral camel management. DKCRC Research Report 50 174 (Desert Knowledge CRC, 2008).|
|2008||Report||Review of legislation and regulations relating to feral camel management (summary). Chapter 6 in Edwards, G.P., McGregor, M., Zeng, B., Vaarzon-Morel, P. and Saalfeld, W.K. (eds.) Cross-jurisdictional management of feral camels to protect NRM and cultural values, DKCRC Report 47. Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre, Alice Spring (Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre, 2008).|
|2007||Report||Analysis of Northern Territory Legislation for the Protection of Threatened Species. Report to WWF-Australia. 57pps. (School for Environmental Research, CDU., 2007).|
A Tale of Two Cockatoos
A Tale of Two Cockatoos is a short animated video and webpage. It has been created by Gill to help publicise the plight of two endangered species of white-tailed black-cockatoos: Baudin's and Carnaby's.
Both cockatoo species are found only in south-west Western Australia. Although they are very similar in their appearance, biology and ecology, Baudin’s receives far less in the way of conservation funding and support than Carnaby’s.
Gill's Black-cockatoo case study research explored how Baudin’s and Carnaby’s are valued by Australian society and discovered why Carnaby’s is favoured over Baudin’s. The video is based on some of her findings and the webpage provides links to key organisations supporting Baudin's and Carnaby's conservation so that people can find practical ways to join in with Baudin's and Carnaby's conservation activities.
Please help spread the word by sharing the film with your family, friends and colleagues and embedding the video on your social media page!
Some of Gill's key documents are available to download:
These are some of Gill's other projects:
Mischievous Magpie (Gill's blog)
Bio Diversity Incorporated (short film, winner of the Wild NT Open Film category 2010, 5mins)
Saving Ningaloo (documentary following the Save Ningaloo campaign in 2002, 22mins)
|Gill Ainsworth's PhD research, "Social Values of Australian Threatened Birds", will examine relevant social values to identify and measure the importance or worth placed by people and society on threatened species of birds in Australia.|