Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Environmental Studies (MES)


Geography & Environmental Studies

Program Name/Specialization

Environmental Resource Management


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Christopher Lemieux

Advisor Role



Healthy and resilient protected and conserved areas are the foundation of biodiversity conservation, improve livelihoods, and drive sustainable development. Protected lands and seascapes radiate life sustaining ecosystem services and provide important places for nature connection, rejuvenation, and inspiration. Although escalating human pressures and climate change-related risks continue to place many protected and conserved areas under increasing threat, “conservation bright spots” have emerged as a key communications strategy to illustrate where and how biodiversity and the social benefits it provides is performing relatively well. Given the crucial need to educate the public about biodiversity-related issues and amplify solution-centric approaches to support ambitious targets to protect 30 percent of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine area by 2030, the ‘bright spots lens’ is a useful way to learn about and share conservation success information. Because bright spots in conservation are context-specific, with unique goals and values systems, they are defined and applied differently within conservation scholarship literature and in public discourse. There is limited research assessing how conservation bright spots are perceived, defined, and applied in the protected and conserved areas space. To address this scholarly knowledge gap, expert practitioners and researchers in Canada were surveyed to understand the ways in which they characterize bright spots in their work, with special focus on conservation objectives and the communication of outcomes related to protected and conserved areas. Results reveal that while positive biodiversity values underpin bright spot emergence, outcome-factors and themes reference human-nature relationships, Indigenous leadership, knowledge sharing, inspiration and storytelling, and recognition of special conservation milestones along the way. The survey results also captured implications for protected and conserved areas when conservation success knowledge and information is communicated, such as through “success stories” or the profiling of “conservation bright spot” case studies. I conclude by providing recommendations on how protected and conserved area organizations can more effectively mainstream bright spots in education, interpretation, and outreach activities, with a focus on elevating “success” with meaningful narratives and stories. These recommendations can be used to support the effective communication of protected and conserved area goals and objectives and related successes in planning and management. The results can also be used to support the monitoring of progress towards the achievement of the goals and targets of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (K-M GBF) (see specifically Targets 3 and 21) as well as biodiversity’s contributions to sustainable development more broadly. While this survey focused on the Canadian context, the results can help managers and decision-makers globally to consider, more holistically, the ways in which “bright spots” can be used to boost awareness and strengthen communication and education efforts related to the benefits of biodiversity and the conservation thereof.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Available for download on Monday, August 05, 2024