Improving landholder engagement in biodiversity conservation: what can be learned from literary theory and design.
Drawing on a case study of an ecological assessment report used in part for landholder engagement by an Australian government biodiversity initiative, this paper illustrates how literary theory and design might aid in designing improved versions of documents and communications used to engage and inform landholders, which may contribute to improved biodiversity outcomes. Biodiversity monitoring and reporting documents used by ecologists to record and communicate data can be required to fulfil different and often contrasting purposes when used in multi-stakeholder situations. Documents might need to stand up to the scrutiny of different disciplinary domains, such as law, ecology and business, while also informing, entertaining and communicating at an emotional level. In this sense, the design of such documents is a significant challenge, made more difficult by the siloing of disciplinary knowledges that deal with ecological and social concerns. Attention to the design of documents and their role in a broader service system is argued to be an important perspective alongside research into conservation management that focuses on the psychological motivations of landholders and environmental management, planning and governance.