The Role of Education in Conservation Biology - Can Knowledge and Understanding alter Locals' Views and Attitudes towards Ecosystem Services?
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- Institutt for biologi 
The aim of this study was to test if human knowledge, views and attitudes toward ecosystem services and biodiversity alter after a four-day education project. Climate change, human population growth and land use change are threats toward nature and ecosystem services, which are crucial for human well-being. Altogether, 180 level-two secondary school students in Ngorongoro School District, Tanzania, were tested about knowledge, attitudes and views before (pre-test) and after (post-test) an education project. In the post-test, there was found a significant increase in the number of students who knew what ecosystem services are, in addition they identified ecosystem services better compared to the pre-test. Besides, the results indicate that the students got more insight in the consequences arising from climate change, human population growth and land use change in the post-test, but not all changes were significant. The students demonstrated an understanding of threats biodiversity and ecosystem services are facing. I conclude that the respondents gained knowledge about ecosystem services and biodiversity, as well as some of the threats presented, during the education project. Analyses indicated that among the independent variables tested for, pre-test/post-test had the most impact on the dependent variables (answer options and statements) and on the variation in the results. On the other hand, the results showed that the students were knowledgeable and were performing positive attitudes and views about the ecosystem and its services even during the pre-test. Given that the respondents gained knowledge from the education project, I emphasize that education about ecosystem services and biodiversity should be included in school curricula for the students to gain knowledge about surroundings and its importance. Keywords: Ecosystem services; biodiversity; education project; secondary school; knowledge; attitudes; views; conservation education