Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 9, Issue 8, pp 1115–1130

Valuing nature in context: the contribution of common-good approaches

  • Carolyn Harrison
  • Jacquelin Burgess

DOI: 10.1023/A:1008930922198

Cite this article as:
Harrison, C. & Burgess, J. Biodiversity and Conservation (2000) 9: 1115. doi:10.1023/A:1008930922198


We draw on a number of empirical studies undertaken in the UK to show how residents and farmers come to contest scientific approaches to valuing nature as the basis for adjudicating conflicts over protected natural areas. The findings of these studies suggest that a widening of the knowledge base on which the goals and practices of nature conservation are founded, and a more deliberative process of decision making about what nature is important locally, is required if effective conservation partnerships are to be sustained. We offer a common good approach to valuing nature as a means of addressing this problem. A common good approach is based on ethical and moral concerns about nature and expresses these values through a social and political process of consensus building. We illustrate how this common good approach can be used to prioritise issues in a Local Environment Agency Plan. When linked with a method of Stakeholder Decision Analysis this common good approach is capable of building coalitions and a measure of consensus between different interests. It achieves this through a transparent and deliberate process of debate and systematic analysis of values that makes explicit the foundation of different knowledge claims about nature.

common good approaches local knowledge stakeholder analysis valuing nature 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolyn Harrison
    • 1
  • Jacquelin Burgess
    • 1
  1. 1.Environment and Society Research Unit, Department of GeographyUniversity College LondonLondonUK