Improving the Value of Conservation Programs

Improving the Value of Conservation Programs Kleiman et al.'s discussion of the resistance of conservation programs to evaluation (“Improving the Value of Conservation Programs,” Conservation Biology 14:356–365) left out an important consideration. Evaluation—self and external—takes time, energy, and money. The larger the program, and the more bureaucratic the evaluation organization, the more the program resources are sapped. I write from the perspective of an academic emerging from the quagmire of institutional reaccreditation; the process has taken months of work and time away from my main interest, which is conservation. I don't much fear “negative input and exposure as well as fear of change,” but I'm terrified of the time I (or my organization) am going to spend in meetings, in report drafting and redrafting, and in hosting bureaucrats. Unfortunately, the most ambitious and significant conservation programs are run by heavily bureaucratized organizations, and I fear that a commitment to evaluation will superimpose another dense layer of bureaucracy and further sap resources from the important work of conservation. I don't question the need for regular self‐evaluation or external peer review, but in a crisis‐oriented discipline, we can't forget that human resources are precious. Conservation program goals must be kept simple and specific to minimize the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Conservation Biology Wiley

Improving the Value of Conservation Programs

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Abstract

Kleiman et al.'s discussion of the resistance of conservation programs to evaluation (“Improving the Value of Conservation Programs,” Conservation Biology 14:356–365) left out an important consideration. Evaluation—self and external—takes time, energy, and money. The larger the program, and the more bureaucratic the evaluation organization, the more the program resources are sapped. I write from the perspective of an academic emerging from the quagmire of institutional reaccreditation; the process has taken months of work and time away from my main interest, which is conservation. I don't much fear “negative input and exposure as well as fear of change,” but I'm terrified of the time I (or my organization) am going to spend in meetings, in report drafting and redrafting, and in hosting bureaucrats. Unfortunately, the most ambitious and significant conservation programs are run by heavily bureaucratized organizations, and I fear that a commitment to evaluation will superimpose another dense layer of bureaucracy and further sap resources from the important work of conservation. I don't question the need for regular self‐evaluation or external peer review, but in a crisis‐oriented discipline, we can't forget that human resources are precious. Conservation program goals must be kept simple and specific to minimize the

Journal

Conservation BiologyWiley

Published: Dec 18, 2000

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