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
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Dec 18, 2000
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