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Digitalisation – Society – Nature Conservation: Interactions and consequences

As cross-cutting societal tasks, nature conservation and the protection of biodiversity require enormous efforts to achieve their – politically agreed – goals. The effects of digitalisation on nature conservation as a socio-political field of action have hardly been examined so far, in contrast to its ecological effects. Our literature analysis shows that there are diverse interactions between the societal dynamics triggered or intensified by the socio-technical processes of digitalisation and the socio-political field of action of nature conservation. These dynamics can be systematised in terms of 1) changes in perceptions, 2) societal inequality, 3) engagement, and 4) technological development. Up to now, neither the character (positive or negative) nor the extent of these interactions have been assessed empirically in sufficient depth. Further research is needed, for example, on the effects of digital cultural change on societal negotiation processes regarding nature conservation. Initial recommendations for conservation actors are aimed at building competencies in order to handle changed patterns of perception, communication and behaviour or to actively harness them.

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