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Secondary school studentsʼ environmental concerns and attitudes toward forest ecosystem services: implications for biodiversity education

Gregor Torkar (2016) Secondary school studentsʼ environmental concerns and attitudes toward forest ecosystem services: implications for biodiversity education. International Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 11 (18). pp. 11019-11031. ISSN 1306-3065

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    Alarming declines in biodiversity have encouraged scientists to begin promoting the idea of the services ecosystems offer to humans in order to gain support for conservation. The concept of ecosystem services is designed to communicate societal dependence on various natural ecosystems. Schools play an important role in educating students to be active and responsible towards the environment. A questionnaire testing for the influence of different types of environmental concern on attitudes to forest ecosystem services was completed by 410 Slovenian secondary school students in north-western Slovenia. The students' attitudes to forest ecosystem services were investigated via 15 statements about provisioning, regulating, supporting and cultural services. The student's environmental concern was investigated using a questionnaire of 12 items. Results from the survey provide evidence that students’ concerns for the consequences of environmental damage formed three correlated factors centred around the self and family, all people and the biosphere. Students' most highly valued environmental concern was for the biosphere, followed by concern for self and family, and concern for all the people. Female students were notably more concerned for all people and for the biosphere. However, all students, regardless of the type of environmental concern, prioritise the different benefits obtained from regulating and supporting ecosystem services. The importance placed on different provisioning and cultural services varies among students with different types of environmental concerns. The students' frequency of direct experiences being in the forest has a significant positive impact on the values they assigned to cultural services in particular. Education about ecosystem services could be an effective means of communicating the significance of various ecosystems and our dependence on ecological life support systems. By using ecosystem services frameworks students can learn about and value ecosystem structure and functions, as well as better evaluate human activities that are associated with them. Using ecosystem services frameworks and elaborated types of environmental concerns can help educators emphasize the attitudes/needs/rights of an individual and of a society to discuss these socio-scientific issues in a cooperative learning environment. Biodiversity education should not overlook cultural ecosystem services and address them in terms of changing human values and sustainability.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: science education, secondary school, pupil
    Related URLs:
    URLURL Type
    http://www.ijese.net/makale/1485Alternative location
    http://cobiss5.izum.si/scripts/cobiss?command=DISPLAY&base=50126&rid=11327049&fmt=11&lani=siAlternative location
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Divisions: Department of Biology, Chemistry and Home Economics > Chair of Biology and Chemistry
    Item ID: 4291
    Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2016 15:12
    Last Modified: 12 Dec 2016 15:12
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/4291

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