Ms Gill Ainsworth

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Valuing birds: understanding the relationship between social values and the conservation of Australian threatened birds

This thesis examines relationships between people’s values, attitudes and behaviours with respect to threatened bird conservation in Australia. Three main research questions are addressed regarding: how Australians value threatened birds; who is involved in threatened bird conservation and how they communicate their values; and whether the values held for particular species of threatened birds affect the success of strategies used to conserve them.

The inquiry is situated within the discipline of social psychology, social constructionism theory and the field of human dimensions of wildlife research. It is informed by Kellert and Clark’s (1991) wildlife policy framework and Kellert’s ‘attitudes towards animals typology’. An interpretive, mixed-methods approach examined values held by different sectors of Australian society. A new typology of 12 avifaunal attitudes was developed to describe the different ways Australians value birds. Three quantitative online surveys of 3,818 members of the public examined Australian attitudes towards threatened birds. Three qualitative case studies (three matched pairs) of Australian threatened birds investigated the opinions of 74 key informants about the influence of stakeholder values, and those of other sectors of society, on threatened bird conservation.

This research demonstrates the importance of understanding how social factors influence wildlife polices and processes relating to threatened bird conservation. It highlights consequences associated with privileging scientific values in the conservation process. The findings reveal how the social constructions of threatened birds and the issues affecting them influence societal interest and conservation investment. The results provide decision-makers with insights into developing effective frames to convey a broad range of threatened bird values to policy-makers and society.

Gill submitted her thesis for examination in March 2014.

 

Awards and grants

2013

  • $1,140 EHSE SupervisorTravel Grant

2012

  • $1,000 EHSE Conference Travel Grant

2011

  • $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

2010

  • $5,000 Birds Australia Stuart Leslie Bird Research Award 2010
  • $400 EHSE Supplementary Funding Grant

 

Year Type Citation
2012 Conference Paper Ainsworth, G. B., Aslin, H., Garnett, S. T. & Weston, M. 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 Ainsworth, G. B., Aslin, H., Garnett, S. T., Weston, M. & Zander, K. K. 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 Ainsworth, G. B., Garnett, S. T. & Aslin, H. 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 Ainsworth, G. B., Aslin, H., Garnett, S. T., Weston, M. & Zander, K. K. 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 Ainsworth, G. B. Scrubfowl Shenanigans. Nature Territory: Newsletter of the Northern Territory Field Naturalists Club October, (2012).
2011 Conference Paper Ainsworth, G. B. 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 Ainsworth, G. B., Aslin, H., Garnett, S. T. & Weston, M. 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 Ainsworth, G. B., Aslin, H., Garnett, S. T. & Weston, M. 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 Garnett, S. T., Williams, G., Ainsworth, G. B. & O’Donnell, M. 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 Ainsworth, G. B., Aslin, H., Garnett, S. T. & Weston, M. 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 Aslin, H., Ainsworth, G. B., Garnett, S. T. & Weston, M. What's the value of a bird? Applying wildlife value typologies to Australian Birds. The Australian Sociological Association Conference (2010).
2010 Conference Paper Ainsworth, G. B., Garnett, S. T. & Aslin, H. 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).
2010 Conference Paper Ainsworth, G. B. Social Values of Australian Threatened Birds. Presented to the School for Environmental Research, CDU 25 May. (2010).
2009 Book Chapter Garnett, S. T. & Ainsworth, G. B. 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 Garnett, S. T. & Ainsworth, G. B. 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 Ainsworth, G. B. & Garnett, S. T. RIMBA: Sustainable forest livelihoods in Malaysia and Australia. (LESTARI: UKM, Malaysia., 2009).
2008 Report Stacey, N., Petheram, L. & Ainsworth, G. B. NAILSMA/TS - CRC – Dugong and marine turtle project partner feedback survey report. 40pps (School for Environmental Research, CDU., 2008).
2008 Conference Paper Ainsworth, G. B. 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 O’Donnell, M., Ainsworth, G. B. & Garnett, S. T. Feral Camels in Australia: A Legislative Review. Presented to SER Seminar Series, CDU 11 April. (2008).
2008 Report Carey, R. et al. Review of legislation and regulations relating to feral camel management. DKCRC Research Report 50 174 (Desert Knowledge CRC, 2008).
2008 Report Carey, R. et al. 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 Garnett, S. T., Carey, R. & Ainsworth, G. B. 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.

A Tale of Two Cockatoos was funded by The Nature Conservancy Applied Conservation Award 2011. TNC have posted the film on their international science blog and Australian Facebook page.

Please help spread the word by sharing the film with your family, friends and colleagues and embedding the video on your social media page! 

Carnaby's Cockatoos on the road from Kojanup to Bridgetown. Credit: G. Ainsworth

 

Key documents

Some of Gill's key documents are available to download:

PhD research proposal - pdf  (31 pp, 641kb)

PhD research summary - pdf (4pp, 210kb)

PhD research presentation - pdf (37pp, 1435kb)

 

More projects

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)

 

Social Values of Australian Threatened Birds

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.

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