Conservation Culturomics - a PeerJ Collection

Successful nature conservation strategies depend on a deep understanding of human-nature interactions. Understanding the factors driving social and cultural support for conservation actions is, therefore, a priority for the conservation movement but remains a challenging task, particularly at large spatial scales. The application of culturomics – the study of human culture through the quantitative analysis of digital data – to conservation takes advantage of the increasingly widespread access to the internet and other digital infrastructures to study cultural engagements with nature and its components (e.g. species, sites, ecosystems).

The exciting new field of conservation culturomics can potentially contribute to conservation science, practice and policy in a number of ways. For example, culturomic techniques have been used to recognize conservation-oriented constituencies and demonstrate public interest in nature in different countries and cultures. Several studies have also focused on understanding the drivers of public interest in species, which can contribute to identifying conservation emblems and under-appreciated species of conservation concern. Culturomic techniques have also started to be used for the assessment of the cultural impact of conservation interventions.

The aim of this collection of publications related to conservation culturomics is to highlight how the field is rapidly evolving through the critical assessment of available methodologies and how they can be expanded to include other aspects, such as the analysis of social media generated image and video data and sentiment analysis. This promising new field is likely to see important developments in the coming decades as technologies mature and internet access spreads across the world, and its development would greatly benefit from wider discussions and engagement with conservation scientists and practitioners on how its contribution to nature conservation and planetary wellbeing can be maximized.

This collection is curated by: Ricardo A. Correia [1,2], Ivan Jarić [3,4] and David L. Roberts [5] and is comprised of articles and preprints published across PeerJ.

[1] DBIO & CESAM-Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal

[2] Institute of Biological and Health Sciences, Federal University of Alagoas, Av. Lourival Melo Mota, Maceió, AL, Brazil

[3] Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Institute of Hydrobiology, České Budějovice, Czech Republic

[4] University of South Bohemia, Faculty of Science, Department of Ecosystem Biology, České Budějovice, Czech Republic

[5] Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, School of Anthropology & Conservation, Marlowe Building, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom

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