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Perception-based Methods to Evaluate Conservation Impact in Forests Managed Through Popular Participation

Jens F Lund, University of Copenhagen
Kulbhushan Balooni, Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode
Lila Puri, Institute of Forestry, Tribhuvan University


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We reviewed construct validity in perception-based methods assessing status and/or trend of forest condition as applied in 19 empirical studies that evaluated the conservation impact of popular participation in forest management. Perception-based methods focus on eliciting peoples’ assessment of the status and/or trend in forest condition or indicators of forest condition through interviews, surveys, or participatory rural appraisal techniques. We found that individual studies generally did not attend to the issue of construct validity in relation to each particular approach to perception-based assessment of status and/or trend in forest condition. Furthermore, the studies provided very little documentation of the construct validity of the perception-based methods as applied to assessments of forest condition in the specific context of popular participation in forest management. This scarcity of evidence implies that any support for the construct validity of these methods must be found outside the literature in which it was applied. A quick review of the literature on local assessments, monitoring, and local ecological knowledge supports the construct validity of such approaches as applied in various contexts; however, we argue that this support cannot be directly transferred to the context of popular participation in forest management. Accordingly, we conclude that there is a need for research to refine and validate perception-based methods as applied in the specific context of popular participation in forest management.

Key words

conservation; forest; impact; local ecological knowledge; validity

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087