Investigating the consistency of a pro-market perspective amongst conservation professionals: evidence from two Q methodological studies

Libby Blanchard, Chris G. Sandbrook, Janet Fisher, Bhaskar Vira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Biodiversity conservation has had a longstanding relationship with raising revenue through markets, such as through nature-based tourism or trophy hunting. However, the recent past has seen a proliferation of novel market-based instruments in conservation such as payments for ecosystem services and mitigation banking. Whilst a number of conservation organisations have aligned themselves with this ‘neoliberal’ shift, relatively few studies interrogate the extent to which this move resonates with the values held by conservation professionals. An earlier study of the views of conservationists participating in the 2011 Society for Conservation Biology annual conference found both supportive and critical perspectives on the use of markets in conservation (Sandbrook et al 2013b). In this paper we investigate the consistency of the perspectives identified in the earlier study by applying the same Q methodology survey to a group of Cambridge, UK-based conservation professionals and comparing the findings. While both studies reveal supporting and more sceptical perspectives on the use of markets in conservation, the pro-market perspective in each sample is nearly identical, whereas the opposing perspectives are more divergent. This finding provides empirical confirmation of a growing body of research that suggests that a relatively consistent set of pro-market perspectives have permeated the thinking of decision makers and staff of conservation organisations around the world, but that critical positions are more fragmented. It also lends some support to the suggestion that a transnational conservation elite may be driving this uptake of market approaches.
Original languageEnglish
JournalConservation and Society
Early online date11 Jun 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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