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Forming shared values in conservation management: An interpretive-deliberative-democratic approach to including community voices

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Publication details

JournalEcosystem Services
DateAccepted/In press - 25 Sep 2016
DateE-pub ahead of print - 28 Oct 2016
DatePublished (current) - Oct 2016
Issue numberPart B
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)344-357
Early online date28/10/16
Original languageEnglish


Global recognition of the decline of marine ecosystems and their services has led to rapid designation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in recent decades. The complexity of effectively managing protected areas within the context of densely populated, highly used and contested coastlines points to the need for decision-support processes that effectively engage users and incorporate social, cultural and economic considerations alongside ecological objectives. Multi-Criteria Approaches (MCA) are established tools for complex decision-making involving uncertain, multi-scale environmental issues and multiple actors. Working closely with decision-makers, we develop a novel approach that draws on the strengths of MCA, but focuses less on arithmetic outcomes, instead presenting a deliberative-democratic process to facilitate emergence of shared values around effective conservation management. We nest these deliberations within the Community Voice Method (CVM), an interpretive film-based approach. CVM enables reflection on deeper-held values, stepping back from polarised policy debates and fostering conversation around shared values connecting people to place. We discuss how the integrated interpretive-deliberative methodology by a transdisciplinary team improved participation and engagement and provided outputs that supported improved decision-making. The approach made diverse impacts and benefits explicit and highlighted shared values amongst participants as a critical part of establishing robust management.

    Research areas

  • Cultural ecosystem services, Deliberative value formation, Marine protected areas, Post-normal science, Transdisciplinarity, Values based approach

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