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Creating conservation strategies with value-focused thinking

May 5, 2023

Biodiversity and human well-being strategies are only as good as the set of ideas that people think about. This article evaluates value-focused thinking (VFT), a framework that focuses on creating objectives and strategy ideas that are responsive to the objectives. We performed a proof-of-concept study of VFT on six planning teams at a global conservation organization. We developed a package of support materials, including session agendas, a virtual facilitation template, facilitator's guide, and evaluation questionnaires. The study tested whether VFT resulted in a set of quality strategies, resulted in participant satisfaction, and was scalable, meaning that it could be facilitated by someone newly trained in VFT and result in quality strategies and participant satisfaction, as compared to an experienced facilitator. Net response indicated positive quality ratings for the set of strategies per team. Respondents indicated positive satisfaction overall, though it was higher for objectives than for strategies. Among the participants with previous experience, all were at least as satisfied with their VFT strategies compared to previously developed strategies, and none were less satisfied (P = 0.001). Changes in participant satisfaction were not related to facilitator type (P > 0.10). In addition, we found that some participants had a premature sense of shared understanding of important values and interests before entering the study, which VFT strengthened. This study highlights the advantages of structuring the development and evaluation of conservation planning frameworks.

Publication Year 2023
Title Creating conservation strategies with value-focused thinking
DOI 10.1111/cobi.14109
Authors David M. Martin, Joshua Goldstein, David R. Smith, Jessica Musengezi, Jessie G. Rountree, Pabodha G. A. Galgamuwe, Aileen Craig, Michelle Dietz, Caitlin Kerr
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Conservation Biology
Index ID 70243973
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Eastern Ecological Science Center