The dynamics of volunteer motivations for engaging in the management of invasive plants

Insights from a mixed-methods study on Scottish seabird islands

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Abstract

Volunteers play an important role in the management of natural habitats. Understanding what motivates volunteers to join conservation initiatives and how motivations change over time is essential to enhance the environmental and social benefits of their engagement. Using a repeated qualitative survey and semi-structured interviews, we explore volunteers’ initial and sustained motivations in the management of the invasive tree mallow (Lavatera arborea) on Scottish seabird islands. Caring for nature, the performance of volunteering activities, and social interactions were the main drivers of involvement. Over time, motivations were shaped by the interplay between individual expectations and experiences with the social and ecological context. They changed from identifiable functions to more complex attachments to the place and the group. We discuss the limitations of functional methodologies in making sense of these attachments and of the performative nature of environmental volunteering. We then explore the practical implications of the dynamics of volunteering motivations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)904-923
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Environmental Planning and Management
Volume61
Issue number5-6
Early online date21 Jun 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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seabird
management
methodology
social benefits
habitat
Conservation
conservation
driver
method
interaction
interview
performance
experience
Group
time

Keywords

  • volunteering
  • motivations
  • functionalism
  • invasive species
  • habitat restoration

Cite this

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title = "The dynamics of volunteer motivations for engaging in the management of invasive plants: Insights from a mixed-methods study on Scottish seabird islands",
abstract = "Volunteers play an important role in the management of natural habitats. Understanding what motivates volunteers to join conservation initiatives and how motivations change over time is essential to enhance the environmental and social benefits of their engagement. Using a repeated qualitative survey and semi-structured interviews, we explore volunteers’ initial and sustained motivations in the management of the invasive tree mallow (Lavatera arborea) on Scottish seabird islands. Caring for nature, the performance of volunteering activities, and social interactions were the main drivers of involvement. Over time, motivations were shaped by the interplay between individual expectations and experiences with the social and ecological context. They changed from identifiable functions to more complex attachments to the place and the group. We discuss the limitations of functional methodologies in making sense of these attachments and of the performative nature of environmental volunteering. We then explore the practical implications of the dynamics of volunteering motivations.",
keywords = "volunteering, motivations, functionalism, invasive species, habitat restoration",
author = "Marie Pages and Anke Fischer and {Van Der Wal}, Rene",
note = "Acknowledgments The authors thank the SOS Puffin volunteers and the Craigleith Management Group for their support in this research project. We also thank John Hunt (SOS Puffin), Anja Byg and Kerry Waylen (The James Hutton Institute), Norman Dandy (Plunkett Foundation), Michelle Pinard (University of Aberdeen), and four anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on earlier versions of this paper. We acknowledge funding by the Natural Environment Research Council and the Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland. (NERC).",
year = "2018",
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language = "English",
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AU - Pages, Marie

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N1 - Acknowledgments The authors thank the SOS Puffin volunteers and the Craigleith Management Group for their support in this research project. We also thank John Hunt (SOS Puffin), Anja Byg and Kerry Waylen (The James Hutton Institute), Norman Dandy (Plunkett Foundation), Michelle Pinard (University of Aberdeen), and four anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on earlier versions of this paper. We acknowledge funding by the Natural Environment Research Council and the Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland. (NERC).

PY - 2018

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N2 - Volunteers play an important role in the management of natural habitats. Understanding what motivates volunteers to join conservation initiatives and how motivations change over time is essential to enhance the environmental and social benefits of their engagement. Using a repeated qualitative survey and semi-structured interviews, we explore volunteers’ initial and sustained motivations in the management of the invasive tree mallow (Lavatera arborea) on Scottish seabird islands. Caring for nature, the performance of volunteering activities, and social interactions were the main drivers of involvement. Over time, motivations were shaped by the interplay between individual expectations and experiences with the social and ecological context. They changed from identifiable functions to more complex attachments to the place and the group. We discuss the limitations of functional methodologies in making sense of these attachments and of the performative nature of environmental volunteering. We then explore the practical implications of the dynamics of volunteering motivations.

AB - Volunteers play an important role in the management of natural habitats. Understanding what motivates volunteers to join conservation initiatives and how motivations change over time is essential to enhance the environmental and social benefits of their engagement. Using a repeated qualitative survey and semi-structured interviews, we explore volunteers’ initial and sustained motivations in the management of the invasive tree mallow (Lavatera arborea) on Scottish seabird islands. Caring for nature, the performance of volunteering activities, and social interactions were the main drivers of involvement. Over time, motivations were shaped by the interplay between individual expectations and experiences with the social and ecological context. They changed from identifiable functions to more complex attachments to the place and the group. We discuss the limitations of functional methodologies in making sense of these attachments and of the performative nature of environmental volunteering. We then explore the practical implications of the dynamics of volunteering motivations.

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DO - 10.1080/09640568.2017.1329139

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