GreatBarrierReef KConnors MorguefileCC webCEED researchers have found that the term 'biodiversity' is less prevalent in conservation policy discourse these days. 

Dr Alex Kusmanoff, Assoc Prof Fiona Fidler, Dr Ascelin Gordon and Prof Sarah Bekessy - all from our RMIT node - analysed the text of media releases by the Australian Government environment portfolio and the Australian Conservation Foundation from 2003 - 2014. They wanted to learn about how biodiversity conservation has been framed in recent years. What they found was that there has been a decrease in the use of the term 'biodiversity', and an increase in economic language, including an increase in 'ecosystem services' as this term has become common knowledge. 

In contrast, over the same time period, 'biodiversity' has increased in use within scientific literature.

What does this mean for biodiversity conservation? There is concern that consistent framing of biodiversity in economic terms (such as ecosystem services) will promote the value of biodiversity as a resource over its intrinsic value.

Read the paper HERE.


Alexander M. Kusmanoff, Fiona Fidler, Ascelin Gordon, Sarah A. Bekessy, Decline of ‘biodiversity’ in conservation policy discourse in Australia, Environmental Science & Policy, Volume 77, November 2017, Pages 160-165, ISSN 1462-9011,

Image: Biodiversity on the Great Barrier Reef, a protected area that is often discussed in economic terms. (photo by K Connors, Morguefile).