Date of Graduation

Spring 5-28-2021

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Asia Pacific Studies (MAPS)


College of Arts and Sciences


Asia Pacific Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Genevieve Leung

Second Advisor

Dr. Ming-sho Ho


The Asia Pacific’s biodiversity is under threat. One significant step that can improve conservation is gathering data on what species exist in different areas over time, which can provide insight into ecosystem health. This is especially important in biodiversity hotspots, where high levels of endemism and anthropogenic risk overlap. Though it is one of the few places in the Pacific not classified as a biodiversity hotspot, Taiwan has an unusually high saturation in terms of biodiversity data points. Investigating the motives of biodiversity monitoring volunteerism is already a topic of growing scholarly interest, but relatively few studies have focused on Asia Pacific contexts. Additionally, volunteer motives to join citizen science biodiversity monitoring have rarely been considered in relation to shifting political contexts and governance. As such, I consider how the imagined communities of volunteers relate to motivations to participate. Borrowing Fan and Chen’s framework of CS1-3, I conduct a case study in the township of Meinung in Kaohsiung County, Taiwan. I combine critical discourse analysis (CDA) and grounded theory (GT) to analyze an interview with a volunteer organizer and a survey of volunteers. I find that for some key volunteer leaders, participation grew out of opposition to Taiwan’s authoritarian industrial development, while the bulk of casual participants today join for recreation, to learn about nature, and give back to their community. I conclude by considering how this information might be applied to strengthen biodiversity monitoring and conservation in the broader Asia Pacific region.