Entrepreneurship in Conservation Education

We found that scholars in conservation science hardly mention entrepreneurship in their publications. Using entrepreneur* as a search term in JSTOR Data for Research (dfr.jstor.org), we found that the term was introduced around the 1920's and 105,555 articles have used the term by 10 July 2013. Most of these articles are classified by JSTOR under the business (31 %), economics (26 %), history (16 %), political science (15 %), and sociology (11 %) disciplines. We found that scholars in biological sciences, ecology, plant sciences, and zoology do not often mention (≤ 0.6 % of all articles per discipline) entrepreneurship in their publications (Fig. 10.1). When searching with the same term in a few major conservation journals in JSTOR on 15 July 2013, we found 48 (out of 4140) articles in Conservation Biology, 8 (out of 3149) in Ecological Applications, 1 (out of 14025) in Ecology, 3 (out of 4384) in Journal of Applied Ecology, and 4 (out of 9353) in The Journal of Wildlife Management.

Many nature conservationists have a degree in biological sciences or from a resource management programme. These programmes started to expose their students to the importance of other scientific fields due to the emergence of the new interdisciplinary field of conservation biology in the 1980's (Meffe and Carrol 1997). Although, economics and sociology are recognised as important fields within conservation biology, entrepreneurship is not mentioned by Meffe and Carrol (1997).

Fig. 10.1  Number of journal articles found when searched for entrepreneur* per discipline on JSTOR Data for Research (dfr.jstor.org) on 10 July 2013. Percentages are calculated by dividing the number of articles found by the total number of articles published per discipline. Individual journals can be included in more than one discipline

Nor is it included in the recommended guidelines for conservation literacy from the Education Committee of the Society for Conservation Biology (Trombulak 2004).

The European Commission (2006) recognises the importance of entrepreneurship in (higher) education and mentions entrepreneurship as one of the eight key competences for lifelong learning. Nonetheless, they reported that “the teaching of entrepreneurship is not yet sufficiently integrated in European higher education institutions' curricula” (European Commission 2008). They further conclude that the majority of entrepreneurship courses are offered in business and economic studies. Since 2000, Dutch governmental policies are in place to stimulate entrepreneurship in Dutch education (Van der Aa et al. 2012). This policy encouraged several Dutch universities of applied sciences to integrate entrepreneurship in their curricula. Currently, entrepreneurship is part of curricula of several programmes in agribusiness, forestry and nature management, agriculture and rural development at the authors' home institution.

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