A distinguishing feature of conservation planning and analysis methods is that they generally rely on biological assessments carried out using scientific sampling protocols and methodologies. Few conservation planning methods explicitly include what is variably described as values, understanding and perceptions. In this study, we examine the potential use of local values of biological resources in conservation planning by comparing this with scientific biological assessment of the same region, using the example of Prince William Sound, Alaska (USA). Specifically, we compare the spatial coincidence of local perceptions of biological importance (or value) identified in a survey of Alaska residents with biologically significant areas identified by scientists familiar with the area from a marine conservation workshop. The results indicate a moderate degree of spatial coincidence between local values and scientific assessment with obvious geographic areas of agreement and disagreement. We suggest that incorporation of local perceptions of biological importance can complement and strengthen scientific biological assessments and propose an iterative conservation planning process that includes both methodologies.
Applied Geography – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2004
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