A1 Journal article (refereed)
Ethics in biodiversity conservation : The meaning and importance of pluralism (2022)

Cortés-Capano, G., Hausmann, A., Di Minin, E., & Kortetmäki, T. (2022). Ethics in biodiversity conservation : The meaning and importance of pluralism. Biological Conservation, 275, Article 109759. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2022.109759

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsCortés-Capano, Gonzalo; Hausmann, Anna; Di Minin, Enrico; Kortetmäki, Teea

Journal or seriesBiological Conservation



Publication year2022

Publication date10/10/2022


Article number109759

PublisherElsevier BV

Publication countryNetherlands

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessPartially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/83539

Additional informationPerspective.


Addressing the global extent of the current biodiversity crisis requires engaging with the existence of multiple equally legitimate values, but also with diverse ethical perspectives underpinning conceptions of right and wrong actions. However, western monist positions have mostly explicitly or implicitly directed conservation strategies by defining the space of legitimate arguments, overlooking solutions that do not fit neatly the chosen approaches. As ignoring diverse ethical positions leads to injustices and reduces the potential of conserving biodiversity, there is a need to recognise and navigate the ethical landscape. Ethical pluralism may provide opportunities to do so. However, the ethical underpinnings of pluralism have not been fully considered in biodiversity conservation. In this article, we elaborate the meaning, importance and limits of ethical pluralism while highlighting opportunities and challenges that the position may entail in biodiversity conservation science and practice. We argue that ethical pluralism allows recognising not only the existence of incommensurable plural values, but also that moral conflicts should embrace intra and inter-cultural criticism and the legitimacy of agonism and dissent, as opposed to monistic and relativistic approaches. We conclude by discussing how grounding ethical pluralism in environmental justice and environmental pragmatism may contribute to navigating the ethical landscape in biodiversity conservation. Particularly, we highlight opportunities to: i) promote (non-anthropocentrically understood) recognition and environmental justice in biodiversity conservation and, ii) move beyond theoretical debates seeking the single best ethical theory and focus on ethical diversity as a common source of possible solutions.

Keywordsnature conservationbiodiversityenvironmental ethicsethicalityjusticeglobal justicesustainable developmentpragmatismpluralism

Free keywordssustainability; ethical pluralism; value pluralism; environmental justice; recognition; pragmatism

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2022

JUFO rating2

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 17:47