Exploring the relationship between plural values of nature, human well-being, and conservation and development intervention: Why it matters and how to do it?

Rachel Carmenta, Julie Zaehringer, Patricia Balvanera, Erin Betley, Neil Dawson, Natalia Estrada-Carmona, Johanna Forster, Jeff Hoelle, Bosco Lliso, Jorge Llopis, Ajit Menon, Moira Moeliono, Karen Mustin, Unai Pascual, Nitin D. Rai, Judith Schleicher, Clare Shelton, A Sigouin, Eleanor Sterling, Angela M. StewardA Tauro, Carole White, Emily Woodhouse, Elizabeth L. Yuliani

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


1. Globally, land and seascapes across the bioculturally diverse tropics are in transition. Impacted by the demands of distant consumers, the processes of global environmental change and numerous interventions seeking climate, conservation and development goals, these transitions have the potential to impact the relationships and plurality of values held between people and place.
2. This paper is a Synthesis of seven empirical studies within the Special Feature (SF): ‘What is lost in transition? Capturing the impacts of conservation and development interventions on relational values and human wellbeing in the tropics’. Through two Open Forum workshops, and critical review, contributing authors explored emergent properties across the papers of the SF. Six core themes were identified and are subsumed within broad categories of: (i) the problem of reconciling scale and complexity, (ii) key challenges to be overcome for more plural understanding of social dimensions of landscape change and (iii) ways forward: the potential of an environmental justice framework, and a practical overview of methods available to do so.
3. The Synthesis interprets disparate fields and complex academic work on relational values, human well-being and de-colonial approaches in impact appraisal. It offers a practical and actionable catalogue of methods for plural valuation in the field, and reflects on their combinations, strengths and weaknesses.
4. The research contribution is policy relevant because it builds the case for why a more plural approach in intervention design and evaluation is essential for achieving more just and sustainable futures, and highlights some of the key actions points deemed necessary to achieve such a transition to conventional practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1720-1738
Number of pages19
JournalPeople and Nature
Issue number6
Early online date30 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • conservation
  • development
  • human dimensions
  • human well-being
  • impact evaluation
  • plural values
  • relational values
  • tropical forests

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