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Participatory Criteria Selection: Finding Conflictive Positions in Environmental Postassessment of Land Management and Restoration Actions

Ocampo-Melgar, Anahí, Orr, Barron J.
Society & natural resources 2016 v.29 no.1 pp. 119-130
arid lands, ecosystem management, environmental assessment, land management, monitoring, planning, prioritization, selection criteria, stakeholders, watersheds, Arizona
Stakeholder participation in environmental assessment of past land management and restoration actions in drylands is important to improve knowledge and management of these ecosystems. Participatory identification and prioritization of monitoring and assessment criteria, while increasingly incorporated into assessment, is still perceived as challenging due to conflicting values and perspectives among stakeholders. As this research demonstrates, a two-step participatory (n = 33) process consisting of a semistructured interview followed by the revised Simos procedure for the identification and prioritization of criteria to assess five actions in the San Simon watershed (Arizona), proved useful to (1) identify and prioritize criteria and (2) expose the source of individual priorities. This flexible but structured process provides a first pass at identifying participant assessment criteria and reducing conflict associated with differing values and perspectives of those with a direct stake in both past and future management and planning of land management and restoration actions.