Gathering local knowledge and values

Published: 03 June 2021
Last edited: 03 June 2021

To facilitate place-based processes that foster inclusive conservation it is necessary to collect local/traditional knowledge, views, and values from multiple stakeholders. Some methods to gather such information were used in the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park:

  • Oral histories and historical datasets review to reconstruct how past visions and drivers of environmental impact have changed over the last 50 years and inform current and future conservation goals;
  • Interviews with local stakeholders on 1) how participation works in the protected area and potential barriers/opportunities for more social engagement, and 2) their visions for park management, the values and knowledge that underpin the visions, and their perceptions of landscape changes and the underlying drivers;
  • Face-to-face surveys with residents, including participatory mapping tools (i.e. Maptionnaire) about landscape values and ecological knowledge. Online surveys with local stakeholders to identify changes in their visions, values and perceptions of the landscape after the COVID-19 pandemic; and
  • Deliberative processes embedded in a participatory scenario planning exercise that used cognitive and emotional maps to collect collective knowledge of the protected area while capturing intertwined affective relationships.

Classifications

Category
Alliance and partnership development
Collection of baseline and monitoring data and knowledge
Communication, outreach and awareness building
Legal and policy frameworks, policy advocacy
Scale of implementation
Local
Subnational
Phase of solution
Planning phase
Implementation
Monitoring
Documentation and dissemination of results

Enabling factors

  • Created an atmosphere of shared understanding, respect and trust with participants to facilitate collaboration along the process;
  • Clarified the project's goals and practical outcomes to manage expectations and stimulate participation; and
  • Co-designed with participants an outreach plan to better disseminate the generated outcomes while making participants realise about the impact of their engagement and fostering learning from others' experience.

Lessons learned

  • Planning activities with stakeholders carefully to avoid overwhelming them with requests;
  • Developing activities according to the timetable, schedule and disruptive events situations (e.g., the COVID-19 pandemic) that work better for most participants;
  • Using quantitative research approaches to gather context-based knowledge may result in biased information. A mixed-method approach based on quantitative and qualitative data can help avoid bias and get a more in-depth knowledge of the context;
  • Online methods work well and their implementation saves time and money when compared with face-to-face events, but are less effective in achieving good personal interactions;
  • Synthesizing and sharing the knowledge is appreciated by the stakeholders. For example, the knowledge gathered from individual stakeholders about landscape changes in the National Park was shared with the stakeholder group at a workshop with the opportunity for short discussions. Stakeholders indicated that they had learned and understood other peoples’ points of views on landscape changes and drivers of change.