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Approaches Used to Evaluate the Social Impacts of Protected Areas

Approaches Used to Evaluate the Social Impacts of Protected Areas Social impact; evaluation; wellbeing. Protected areas are a key strategy in conserving biodiversity, and there is a pressing need to evaluate their social impacts. Though the social impacts of Correspondence Emiel de Lange, Imperial College London, development interventions are widely assessed, the conservation literature is Department of Life Sciences, Silwood Park limited and methodological guidance is lacking. Using a systematic literature Campus,Ascot SL57PY,UK. search, which found 95 relevant studies, we assessed the methods used to eval- E-mail: emiel.de-lange12@imperial.ac.uk uate the social impacts of protected areas. Mixed methods were used by more than half of the studies. Almost all studies reported material aspects of wellbe- Received ing, particularly income; other aspects were included in around half of stud- 31 August 2015 ies. The majority of studies provided a snapshot, with only one employing a Accepted 24 November 2015 before-after-control-intervention design. Half of studies reported respondent perceptions of impacts, while impact was attributed from researcher inference Editor in 1/3 of cases. Although the number of such studies is increasing rapidly, Dr. Erin Sills there has been little change in the approaches used over the last 15 years, or in the authorship of studies, which is predominantly academics. Recent im- doi: 10.1111/conl.12223 provements in understanding of best practice in social impact evaluation need to be translated into practice if a true picture of the effects of conservation on local people is to be obtained. also improve support among and cooperation with local Introduction people (Milner-Gulland et al. 2014). Conservation interventions have wide-ranging social Evaluations of the impacts of interventions on peo- impacts—both positive and negative. For example, ple are common in development (Baker 2000), but protected areas can alter resource use-rights and displace less so in conservation (PCLG, TILCEPA, UNEP-WCMC communities (West et al. 2006), but can also secure & WCPA/CEESP taskforce, 2007; Schreckenberg et al. ecosystem services, and generate employment and 2010). An impact evaluation has three main components income (Pullin et al. 2013). Conservationists are increas- (Gertler et al. 2011): First, relevant indicators are needed ingly recognizing that their interventions should benefit to assess changes in human wellbeing caused by an in- people and improve human wellbeing (Campagna & tervention. Secondly, evaluations need to be designed so Fernandez 2007), and this principle is enshrined in the that wellbeing outcomes are linked to the intervention Convention on Biological Diversity (Secretariat of the being studied rather than to other factors. Thirdly, data Convention on Biological Diversity, 1992). Robust and need to be collected in an appropriate way, both in terms comprehensive monitoring and evaluation of social im- of the methods used and the overall sampling strategy. pacts is therefore essential to ensure greater transparency Wellbeing is a broad term with multiple meanings and accountability, improve learning, and support effec- (Leisher et al. 2013), but there is increasing agreement in tive allocation of conservation resources (Grantham et al. international policy circles that it encompasses objective 2009). Demonstrating positive social outcomes could material components, relational aspects, and subjective Conservation Letters, September/October 2016, 9(5), 327–333 Copyright and Photocopying: 2015 The Authors. Conservation Letters published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. 327 This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Evaluation of social impacts E. de Lange et al. experiences (Stiglitz, Sen & Fitoussi 2009). Empirical Woodhouse et al. 2015). However there is limited research has shown that there are broadly five aspects evidence on how impact evaluations have been con- which are held in common; material assets, health, social ducted to date; specifically the way in which they have relations, security, and freedom of choice and action approached the three components of the process. A (Narayan et al. 2000; Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, formal review of practice could reveal shortcomings or 2005). A broad set of indicators that reflects each aspect strengths, and whether changes in understanding of best of wellbeing in both objective and subjective dimensions practice have translated into real-world implementation. allows for more accurate and valid assessments of the Effort spent improving methods should be justified with impacts of interventions than indicators which focus on reference to evidence of past failure, not just theoretical specific components (King et al. 2014). Local relevance future ideals. can be ensured through participatory research with local We conducted a systematic literature search in order stakeholders (Abunge et al. 2013). to provide an overview of the methods used for evalu- A full experimental design is rarely possible in con- ating the social impacts of protected areas to date. We servation, but robust attribution of outcomes to inter- structured our review around the three components of ventions is feasible using other designs (McConnachie evaluation (selection of indicators; research design; data et al. 2015). In quasi-experimental designs the re- collection) in relation to current understanding of best searcher selects control groups in order to estimate the practice, and investigated whether the methods used counterfactual—the case in the absence of the inter- have changed over time as understanding of best practice vention. A before-after-control-intervention design com- has improved. bines controls with baseline data to further control for initial conditions (Ferraro & Pattanayak 2006; Ferraro Methods 2009). Collecting quantitative data in such designs al- lows attribution of impacts whilst reducing bias from Systematic literature search confounding factors by using statistical techniques such A systematic literature search was carried out based on as matching (Gertler et al. 2011). However, nonstatisti- published guidelines (Pullin & Stewart 2006) with search cal methods can also be used to make causal inferences terms adapted from a recent systematic review of the im- (Stern et al. 2012). Participatory methods attribute change pacts of protected areas (Pullin et al. 2013). We searched based on the perceptions of those impacted—a “reflex- the academic literature through online databases and ive counterfactual” (Franks et al. 2014). Researchers may the grey literature on the websites of 19 relevant orga- also make inferences by comparing evidence to predic- nizations. The search terms used were chosen in order tions from theory (He et al. 2008). Choice of study de- to capture both the different types of protected area sign and method of attribution ultimately depend on interventions, and the full range of terminology used to the requirements of the researcher (Mascia et al. 2014). describe the social dimensions of impacts. Terms were Quasi-experimental statistical methods, when used ap- adjusted to the search capabilities and requirements propriately, can answer the “what” question and estimate of each database. Relevance screening was done by the magnitude of impacts, whereas alternative methods title and then by abstract. Publications were selected if are better suited to explaining “why” and “how” impacts they reported an assessment of the wellbeing impacts have occurred (Stern et al. 2012). of a protected area on a local human population. This The choice of data collection and sampling methods criterion allows for studies where a wellbeing evaluation largely depends on the question to be answered and the is not the principal objective, but has nevertheless been form of causal inference required. Different methods are undertaken. However, this criterion excludes studies better suited to collecting qualitative and quantitative such as economic valuations of protected areas at a na- or objective and subjective data types (Wongbusarakum tional level, which do not attempt to assess the wellbeing et al. 2014). Furthermore, different types of people will be impacts on a specific population. Only English-language impacted in different ways, and sampling across relevant publications were retained. Full details of the search are subgroups (e.g., livelihoods, genders, and ethnicities) will given in supplementary material file S1. ensure heterogeneity is captured (Daw et al. 2011; King et al. 2014). A number of conservation organizations are develop- Data extraction ing guidelines for assessing the social impacts of their in- terventions (Schreckenberg et al. 2010; Wongbusarakum Key information on the methods used by each study was et al. 2014), and understanding of best practice is im- extracted and codified (the protocol is given in supple- proving (Ferraro & Pattanayak 2006; Roe et al. 2013; mentary material file S2). The unit of analysis was the 328 Conservation Letters, September/October 2016, 9(5), 327–333 Copyright and Photocopying: 2015 The Authors. Conservation Letters published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. E. de Lange et al. Evaluation of social impacts study, each of which made up one entry, including those pects of wellbeing, such as health, social relations, secu- assessing multiple protected areas. Background data were rity and freedom (Table 1). A majority of studies (76%) collected from all studies, while detailed information on examined multiple aspects of wellbeing, however if ma- methodology was collected where possible. The database terial aspects (income and other material) are combined search returned a total of 8,679 results, of which 75 were this is reduced to 49%. Only one study examined all as- selected in addition to 15 from specialist websites. In pects of wellbeing, but 12 studies looked at 4 or more total 90 publications were retained for data extraction of the 6 aspects. No increase in the number of aspects as detailed in supplementary material file S3. In these, assessed was detected over time (Spearman’s rank, ρ = 95 studies were reported. However 5 did not report their 0.08, P = 0.47) methods adequately and were excluded from further analysis. Research design We used a predefined framework to categorize well- being into 6 aspects (Woodhouse et al. 2015). We split The snapshot (with no control or baseline) was the most income from other material aspects due to its prepon- common study design (66%). No significant change in derance in studies and importance as an indicator at the prevalence of the snapshot design was detected over time national and international levels. We classified study de- (chi-square, χ = 0.65, df = 2, P = 0.72). Twenty-three sign and the method used to link impacts to the protected percent of studies had a control (Table 1), but the before- area drawing onawingon typologies such as Stern et al. after-control-intervention design was only employed in 2012. Data collection methods were categorized based one study (Gurney et al. 2014). ‘Other’ study designs on Wongbusarakum, Madeira & Hartanto 2014. Data included gradients of proximity to the protected area. were classified as quantitative (numeric) or qualitative Fourteen studies used a combination of study designs; (text-based), or both, as well as objective (externally five used a control-intervention design combined with verifiable e.g. material assets) or subjective (feelings or measuring post-intervention change over time in the perceptions), or both. Full details on categorizations used intervention site, while four combined it with a snapshot are provided in supplementary material file S4. study in the intervention site. For example, one study carried out quantitative interviews in an impacted and a control village, as well as participatory group discussions Statistical analysis on perceived changes in the impacted village (Bashar Statistical tests were carried out in R (R Core Team, 2013). 2014). As the data are nonnormal, nonparametric tests The most common method of attributing impacts to the were chosen, including Chi-square and Spearman’s rank protected area was through the perceptions of the people correlation. When Chi-square tests were used to in- being studied (53%; Table 1). Other methods include vestigate changes over time, years were divided into inference by the researcher (36%), comparison with a three roughly equal periods: 1999–2005, 2006–2010, and control (23%) and the use of correlational or statistical 2011–2015. relationships (12%). No change in the use of perceptions was found over time (chi-square, χ = 2.24, df = 2, P = 0.33). Results On average, 2.2 (SD = 0.79) relevant studies were carried Methods used out annually between 1999 and 2006. From 2007 there The most common tool was the semi-structured inter- was a linear increase in the number of studies, with 14 view survey, used in 76% of studies (Table 2). Other being carried out in 2014 (Figure 1). Academic authors common tools included key informant interviews (38%), were involved in most studies (88%), with 67% of stud- focus group discussions (31%), and self-complete ques- ies having only academic authors. The majority of the re- tionnaires and open-ended interview surveys (both maining studies were carried out by NGOs (21% of the 13%). “Other” methods (11%) included the use of total). secondary data, such as government records or censuses, or direct measurement of physical variables such as Wellbeing outcomes assessed fish landings or market goods. 73% of studies used Material aspects of wellbeing (including income) were as- more than one method. Thirty-eight different method sessed in 89 of 90 studies. Income was assessed in 68% of sets were reported in total, with the largest method-set studies while other material aspects were assessed in 87% comprising 4 methods. The most common included of studies. Only 51% of studies assessed nonmaterial as- pairing semi-structured interview surveys with either Conservation Letters, September/October 2016, 9(5), 327–333 Copyright and Photocopying: 2015 The Authors. Conservation Letters published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. 329 Evaluation of social impacts E. de Lange et al. 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Year Figure 1 Trend in number of SIA carried out showing linear increase since 2007 (F = 32.0, Multiple R = 0.84, P = 0.001). Table 1 The frequency of use of various aspects of wellbeing, study designs and methods of attribution Aspects of wellbeing Studies Study design Studies Attribution Studies Material – income 61 Control–Intervention 20 Correlational 11 Material – other 78 Before–After 4 Matched 21 Health 14 BACI 1 Perception 48 Social Relations 25 Snapshot 59 Researcher inference 32 Security 8 Change over time (postintervention) 17 Freedom of choice and action 23 Other 3 Table 2 Frequency of use of various methods of data-collection key informant interviews (11 studies) or focus group discussions (10 studies). There has been no significant Methods Papers change over time in the number of methods used in a Participatory observation 3 study (Spearman’s rank, ρ = 0.17, P = 0.11). Participatory rural appraisal 7 Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected Interview surveys: Structured/semi structured/scales 68 in 51% of studies, while 36% of studies only collected Interview surveys: open-ended questions 12 quantitative data. Similarly, 67% of studies collected both Focus group 28 objective and subjective data while objective data alone Key informant interviews 34 were collected in 21% of studies. No significant changes Self-complete questionnaires 12 Other 10 in use of objective data (chi-square, χ = 3.40, df = 2, P = 0.18) or mixed objective/subjective data sets (chi-square, χ = 2.20, df = 2, P = 0.33) were found over time. Most studies (89%) sampled at the household level Discussion while smaller numbers sampled at the individual (28%) The literature search carried out here was comprehen- or village (13%) levels. Only 21 studies (23%) reported sive;onlyasmallfraction(<0.02%) of the returned sampling specific subgroups; most commonly livelihood publications were relevant, suggesting that the search groups (16 studies), followed by gender (7 studies), terms were sufficiently broad to capture most relevant wealth (5), social status (2), age (3), and level of education (1). 330 Conservation Letters, September/October 2016, 9(5), 327–333 Copyright and Photocopying: 2015 The Authors. Conservation Letters published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Publicaons E. de Lange et al. Evaluation of social impacts publications (Pullin & Stewart 2006). As a result, the data of snapshot designs means that these are rarely captured set is adequately representative of practice in assessing fully (Gurney et al. 2014; Woodhouse et al. 2015) the social impacts of protected areas to date. The surge The final component of impact evaluation is data in published evaluations since 2007 could be a reflection collection. A large majority of studies used a combination of a general increase in publication within the field of of data-collection methods. The most commonly used— conservation science. Alternatively, it could reflect grow- the semi-structured interview survey - was frequently ing recognition of the need to evaluate the social impacts combined with key informant interviews or focus group of conservation (Ferraro & Pattanayak 2006; Cowling & discussions. These combinations are particularly useful Wilhelm-Rechmann 2007). for collecting mixed data, allowing structured or quanti- Overall, the view taken of human wellbeing by the tative data from the interview survey to be supported by studies was limited. Only one study examined the full more in-depth qualitative data, and both objective and breadth of aspects (Silva 2006), while the vast majority subjective measures of change in wellbeing to be cap- examined only a small number. A narrow view of wellbe- tured. A large majority of studies sampled households as ing is unlikely to reflect reality as improvements in mea- these are the basic unit around which economic activity sured aspects could be offset by undetected declines in is organized. This is consistent with the focus on material others. For example, one study found that, compared to aspects of wellbeing such as income and assets. However, controls, households in a national park showed improved as different people conceive of wellbeing and are im- health indicators but lower income and less trust in their pacted in different ways, heterogeneity may exist within neighbors (Foerster et al. 2011). Measuring only income a household, for example across gender and age groups. could have led to the conclusion that proximity to the It is important that this heterogeneity is captured through park decreased wellbeing, although the reality was much sampling individuals, not just taking household averages. more complex. It is worrying then that material aspects This would enable distributional dimensions of equity to of wellbeing are overwhelmingly dominant, with almost be captured (Daw et al. 2011). Similarly, impacts are man- half of studies examining nothing else. As our concep- ifested heterogeneously within the community, and this tion of wellbeing is refined, evaluators should broaden is poorly captured by most studies. Only a few ensured the range of information they collect accordingly. that specific subgroups were included in the sample, and Different evaluation designs are appropriate for of these only one or two subgroups were sampled. The different research questions, audiences, types of inter- fact that the most common subgroups were livelihoods- vention, and capacities (Stern et al. 2012). The strength based reflects the material view of wellbeing adopted. of quasi-experimental designs, with a counterfactual, lies No changes in the approach to evaluating impacts in attribution and estimation of impact magnitudes— over time were found; evaluators have not broadened information often desired by donors and policy makers their view of wellbeing, and remain largely reliant building an evidence base. However, most studies fa- on snapshot studies capturing the perceptions of lo- vored nonstatistical methods of causal inference and cal people. Using perceptions data suggests a positive study designs without controls or baselines, instead engagement with subjective aspects of wellbeing and using snapshot designs and local perceptions or infer- with local people, whose support is vital for success- ence by the researcher. These patterns may have more ful conservation. However, this should be complemented power to explain and contextualize impacts, and so be with evaluations providing robust evidence of causal link- more useful than quasi-experimental approaches for ages, ensuring wider legitimacy. The absence of change improving protected area management at the site level. in the methodology suggests that the discussion un- However, the emphasis on nonstatistical attributions derway in the academic conservation literature is not by academic authors is unexpected as their reliability is yet being translated into evaluation practice. As calls hard to ascertain, and these methods can be prone to for impact evaluation in conservation were made rel- bias and manipulation when not done systematically atively recently, with one of the earliest being Fer- and with care regarding equity of participation (Catley raro & Pattanayak (2006), it may still be too soon for et al. 2008; Ferraro 2009; Gertler et al. 2011). Overall, adoption of new evaluation methods to be reflected in further analysis would be required in order to draw the literature. However as we covered both academic reliable conclusions on the quality and appropriateness and grey literature, one might have expected some in- of all the evaluation approaches employed to the specific dication of new approaches being adopted if the grey circumstances of each case study. On another note, little literature is more rapidly published. Also, the sharp in- is currently understood about the trajectory of change in crease in the volume of literature after 2007 suggests that impacts over time (Woolcock 2009) and the prevalence social impact evaluations are becoming more common, Conservation Letters, September/October 2016, 9(5), 327–333 Copyright and Photocopying: 2015 The Authors. Conservation Letters published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. 331 Evaluation of social impacts E. de Lange et al. even as the methods used remain unchanged. There may from participatory well-being assessment in Kenya. Ambio., therefore also be barriers preventing implementation of 42(8), 1010-1021. Baker, J.L. (2000). Evaluating the impact of development projects new methods, such as budgets, time or technical capacity. on poverty: a handbook for practitioners.World Bank Guidance adaptable to different scenarios of capacity, Publications. Washington D.C., USA. budget and objectives is beginning to emerge (IIED, 2014; Bashar, S.A. (2013). Impact of MACH project activities on Wongbusarakum et al. 2014; Woodhouse et al. 2015;), socio-economic and environmental conditions in Keuta and in time this will improve the quality of evaluation, Beel of Sherpur District. Pages 62-80 in J. Fox, M.G. provided that practitioners are given the right support. Mustafa, Bryan R. Bushley, Stephen M. Brennan, and Direct collaboration between academic researchers and Laurie , editors. 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Feinstein Inter- of this need for collaborative learning. There is a press- national Centre, Tufts University. Somerville, MA, USA. ing need for more and better evaluations of the social Cowling, R.M. & Wilhelm-Rechmann, A. (2007). Social impacts of protected areas, and conservation in general, assessment as a key to conservation success. Oryx., 41(2), in order to improve the sustainability and local accept- ability of conservation interventions. By highlighting the Daw, T., Brown, K., Rosendo, S. & Pomeroy, R. (2011). current state of practice, we hope to have contributed to- Applying the ecosystem services concept to poverty alleviation: the need to disaggregate human well-being. wards this aim. Environ. Conserv., 38(04), 370-379. Ferraro, P.J. (2009) Counterfactual thinking and impact evaluation in environmental policy. Pages 75-84 in M. Acknowledgments Birnbaum & P. Mickwitz, editors. Environmental program This paper is a product of the ESRC/DFID funded project and policy evaluation. New directions for evaluation. 122nd “Measuring complex outcomes of environment and de- edition. pp. velopment interventions.” We also gratefully acknowl- Ferraro, P.J. & Pattanayak, S.K. (2006) Money for nothing? A edge funding from an ESRC Impact Acceleration award call for empirical evaluation of biodiversity conservation to Imperial College London. investments. PLoS Biol., 4(4), e105. Foerster, S., Wilkie, D.S., Morelli, G.A., et al. (2011). Human livelihoods and protected areas in Gabon: a cross-sectional Supporting Information comparison of welfare and consumption patterns. Oryx., 45(03), 347-356. Additional Supporting Information may be found in the Franks, P., Roe, D., Small, R. & Schneider, H. (2014). 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Approaches Used to Evaluate the Social Impacts of Protected Areas

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Abstract

Social impact; evaluation; wellbeing. Protected areas are a key strategy in conserving biodiversity, and there is a pressing need to evaluate their social impacts. Though the social impacts of Correspondence Emiel de Lange, Imperial College London, development interventions are widely assessed, the conservation literature is Department of Life Sciences, Silwood Park limited and methodological guidance is lacking. Using a systematic literature Campus,Ascot SL57PY,UK. search, which found 95 relevant studies, we assessed the methods used to eval- E-mail: emiel.de-lange12@imperial.ac.uk uate the social impacts of protected areas. Mixed methods were used by more than half of the studies. Almost all studies reported material aspects of wellbe- Received ing, particularly income; other aspects were included in around half of stud- 31 August 2015 ies. The majority of studies provided a snapshot, with only one employing a Accepted 24 November 2015 before-after-control-intervention design. Half of studies reported respondent perceptions of impacts, while impact was attributed from researcher inference Editor in 1/3 of cases. Although the number of such studies is increasing rapidly, Dr. Erin Sills there has been little change in the approaches used over the last 15 years, or in the authorship of studies, which is predominantly academics. Recent im- doi: 10.1111/conl.12223 provements in understanding of best practice in social impact evaluation need to be translated into practice if a true picture of the effects of conservation on local people is to be obtained. also improve support among and cooperation with local Introduction people (Milner-Gulland et al. 2014). Conservation interventions have wide-ranging social Evaluations of the impacts of interventions on peo- impacts—both positive and negative. For example, ple are common in development (Baker 2000), but protected areas can alter resource use-rights and displace less so in conservation (PCLG, TILCEPA, UNEP-WCMC communities (West et al. 2006), but can also secure & WCPA/CEESP taskforce, 2007; Schreckenberg et al. ecosystem services, and generate employment and 2010). An impact evaluation has three main components income (Pullin et al. 2013). Conservationists are increas- (Gertler et al. 2011): First, relevant indicators are needed ingly recognizing that their interventions should benefit to assess changes in human wellbeing caused by an in- people and improve human wellbeing (Campagna & tervention. Secondly, evaluations need to be designed so Fernandez 2007), and this principle is enshrined in the that wellbeing outcomes are linked to the intervention Convention on Biological Diversity (Secretariat of the being studied rather than to other factors. Thirdly, data Convention on Biological Diversity, 1992). Robust and need to be collected in an appropriate way, both in terms comprehensive monitoring and evaluation of social im- of the methods used and the overall sampling strategy. pacts is therefore essential to ensure greater transparency Wellbeing is a broad term with multiple meanings and accountability, improve learning, and support effec- (Leisher et al. 2013), but there is increasing agreement in tive allocation of conservation resources (Grantham et al. international policy circles that it encompasses objective 2009). Demonstrating positive social outcomes could material components, relational aspects, and subjective Conservation Letters, September/October 2016, 9(5), 327–333 Copyright and Photocopying: 2015 The Authors. Conservation Letters published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. 327 This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Evaluation of social impacts E. de Lange et al. experiences (Stiglitz, Sen & Fitoussi 2009). Empirical Woodhouse et al. 2015). However there is limited research has shown that there are broadly five aspects evidence on how impact evaluations have been con- which are held in common; material assets, health, social ducted to date; specifically the way in which they have relations, security, and freedom of choice and action approached the three components of the process. A (Narayan et al. 2000; Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, formal review of practice could reveal shortcomings or 2005). A broad set of indicators that reflects each aspect strengths, and whether changes in understanding of best of wellbeing in both objective and subjective dimensions practice have translated into real-world implementation. allows for more accurate and valid assessments of the Effort spent improving methods should be justified with impacts of interventions than indicators which focus on reference to evidence of past failure, not just theoretical specific components (King et al. 2014). Local relevance future ideals. can be ensured through participatory research with local We conducted a systematic literature search in order stakeholders (Abunge et al. 2013). to provide an overview of the methods used for evalu- A full experimental design is rarely possible in con- ating the social impacts of protected areas to date. We servation, but robust attribution of outcomes to inter- structured our review around the three components of ventions is feasible using other designs (McConnachie evaluation (selection of indicators; research design; data et al. 2015). In quasi-experimental designs the re- collection) in relation to current understanding of best searcher selects control groups in order to estimate the practice, and investigated whether the methods used counterfactual—the case in the absence of the inter- have changed over time as understanding of best practice vention. A before-after-control-intervention design com- has improved. bines controls with baseline data to further control for initial conditions (Ferraro & Pattanayak 2006; Ferraro Methods 2009). Collecting quantitative data in such designs al- lows attribution of impacts whilst reducing bias from Systematic literature search confounding factors by using statistical techniques such A systematic literature search was carried out based on as matching (Gertler et al. 2011). However, nonstatisti- published guidelines (Pullin & Stewart 2006) with search cal methods can also be used to make causal inferences terms adapted from a recent systematic review of the im- (Stern et al. 2012). Participatory methods attribute change pacts of protected areas (Pullin et al. 2013). We searched based on the perceptions of those impacted—a “reflex- the academic literature through online databases and ive counterfactual” (Franks et al. 2014). Researchers may the grey literature on the websites of 19 relevant orga- also make inferences by comparing evidence to predic- nizations. The search terms used were chosen in order tions from theory (He et al. 2008). Choice of study de- to capture both the different types of protected area sign and method of attribution ultimately depend on interventions, and the full range of terminology used to the requirements of the researcher (Mascia et al. 2014). describe the social dimensions of impacts. Terms were Quasi-experimental statistical methods, when used ap- adjusted to the search capabilities and requirements propriately, can answer the “what” question and estimate of each database. Relevance screening was done by the magnitude of impacts, whereas alternative methods title and then by abstract. Publications were selected if are better suited to explaining “why” and “how” impacts they reported an assessment of the wellbeing impacts have occurred (Stern et al. 2012). of a protected area on a local human population. This The choice of data collection and sampling methods criterion allows for studies where a wellbeing evaluation largely depends on the question to be answered and the is not the principal objective, but has nevertheless been form of causal inference required. Different methods are undertaken. However, this criterion excludes studies better suited to collecting qualitative and quantitative such as economic valuations of protected areas at a na- or objective and subjective data types (Wongbusarakum tional level, which do not attempt to assess the wellbeing et al. 2014). Furthermore, different types of people will be impacts on a specific population. Only English-language impacted in different ways, and sampling across relevant publications were retained. Full details of the search are subgroups (e.g., livelihoods, genders, and ethnicities) will given in supplementary material file S1. ensure heterogeneity is captured (Daw et al. 2011; King et al. 2014). A number of conservation organizations are develop- Data extraction ing guidelines for assessing the social impacts of their in- terventions (Schreckenberg et al. 2010; Wongbusarakum Key information on the methods used by each study was et al. 2014), and understanding of best practice is im- extracted and codified (the protocol is given in supple- proving (Ferraro & Pattanayak 2006; Roe et al. 2013; mentary material file S2). The unit of analysis was the 328 Conservation Letters, September/October 2016, 9(5), 327–333 Copyright and Photocopying: 2015 The Authors. Conservation Letters published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. E. de Lange et al. Evaluation of social impacts study, each of which made up one entry, including those pects of wellbeing, such as health, social relations, secu- assessing multiple protected areas. Background data were rity and freedom (Table 1). A majority of studies (76%) collected from all studies, while detailed information on examined multiple aspects of wellbeing, however if ma- methodology was collected where possible. The database terial aspects (income and other material) are combined search returned a total of 8,679 results, of which 75 were this is reduced to 49%. Only one study examined all as- selected in addition to 15 from specialist websites. In pects of wellbeing, but 12 studies looked at 4 or more total 90 publications were retained for data extraction of the 6 aspects. No increase in the number of aspects as detailed in supplementary material file S3. In these, assessed was detected over time (Spearman’s rank, ρ = 95 studies were reported. However 5 did not report their 0.08, P = 0.47) methods adequately and were excluded from further analysis. Research design We used a predefined framework to categorize well- being into 6 aspects (Woodhouse et al. 2015). We split The snapshot (with no control or baseline) was the most income from other material aspects due to its prepon- common study design (66%). No significant change in derance in studies and importance as an indicator at the prevalence of the snapshot design was detected over time national and international levels. We classified study de- (chi-square, χ = 0.65, df = 2, P = 0.72). Twenty-three sign and the method used to link impacts to the protected percent of studies had a control (Table 1), but the before- area drawing onawingon typologies such as Stern et al. after-control-intervention design was only employed in 2012. Data collection methods were categorized based one study (Gurney et al. 2014). ‘Other’ study designs on Wongbusarakum, Madeira & Hartanto 2014. Data included gradients of proximity to the protected area. were classified as quantitative (numeric) or qualitative Fourteen studies used a combination of study designs; (text-based), or both, as well as objective (externally five used a control-intervention design combined with verifiable e.g. material assets) or subjective (feelings or measuring post-intervention change over time in the perceptions), or both. Full details on categorizations used intervention site, while four combined it with a snapshot are provided in supplementary material file S4. study in the intervention site. For example, one study carried out quantitative interviews in an impacted and a control village, as well as participatory group discussions Statistical analysis on perceived changes in the impacted village (Bashar Statistical tests were carried out in R (R Core Team, 2013). 2014). As the data are nonnormal, nonparametric tests The most common method of attributing impacts to the were chosen, including Chi-square and Spearman’s rank protected area was through the perceptions of the people correlation. When Chi-square tests were used to in- being studied (53%; Table 1). Other methods include vestigate changes over time, years were divided into inference by the researcher (36%), comparison with a three roughly equal periods: 1999–2005, 2006–2010, and control (23%) and the use of correlational or statistical 2011–2015. relationships (12%). No change in the use of perceptions was found over time (chi-square, χ = 2.24, df = 2, P = 0.33). Results On average, 2.2 (SD = 0.79) relevant studies were carried Methods used out annually between 1999 and 2006. From 2007 there The most common tool was the semi-structured inter- was a linear increase in the number of studies, with 14 view survey, used in 76% of studies (Table 2). Other being carried out in 2014 (Figure 1). Academic authors common tools included key informant interviews (38%), were involved in most studies (88%), with 67% of stud- focus group discussions (31%), and self-complete ques- ies having only academic authors. The majority of the re- tionnaires and open-ended interview surveys (both maining studies were carried out by NGOs (21% of the 13%). “Other” methods (11%) included the use of total). secondary data, such as government records or censuses, or direct measurement of physical variables such as Wellbeing outcomes assessed fish landings or market goods. 73% of studies used Material aspects of wellbeing (including income) were as- more than one method. Thirty-eight different method sessed in 89 of 90 studies. Income was assessed in 68% of sets were reported in total, with the largest method-set studies while other material aspects were assessed in 87% comprising 4 methods. The most common included of studies. Only 51% of studies assessed nonmaterial as- pairing semi-structured interview surveys with either Conservation Letters, September/October 2016, 9(5), 327–333 Copyright and Photocopying: 2015 The Authors. Conservation Letters published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. 329 Evaluation of social impacts E. de Lange et al. 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Year Figure 1 Trend in number of SIA carried out showing linear increase since 2007 (F = 32.0, Multiple R = 0.84, P = 0.001). Table 1 The frequency of use of various aspects of wellbeing, study designs and methods of attribution Aspects of wellbeing Studies Study design Studies Attribution Studies Material – income 61 Control–Intervention 20 Correlational 11 Material – other 78 Before–After 4 Matched 21 Health 14 BACI 1 Perception 48 Social Relations 25 Snapshot 59 Researcher inference 32 Security 8 Change over time (postintervention) 17 Freedom of choice and action 23 Other 3 Table 2 Frequency of use of various methods of data-collection key informant interviews (11 studies) or focus group discussions (10 studies). There has been no significant Methods Papers change over time in the number of methods used in a Participatory observation 3 study (Spearman’s rank, ρ = 0.17, P = 0.11). Participatory rural appraisal 7 Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected Interview surveys: Structured/semi structured/scales 68 in 51% of studies, while 36% of studies only collected Interview surveys: open-ended questions 12 quantitative data. Similarly, 67% of studies collected both Focus group 28 objective and subjective data while objective data alone Key informant interviews 34 were collected in 21% of studies. No significant changes Self-complete questionnaires 12 Other 10 in use of objective data (chi-square, χ = 3.40, df = 2, P = 0.18) or mixed objective/subjective data sets (chi-square, χ = 2.20, df = 2, P = 0.33) were found over time. Most studies (89%) sampled at the household level Discussion while smaller numbers sampled at the individual (28%) The literature search carried out here was comprehen- or village (13%) levels. Only 21 studies (23%) reported sive;onlyasmallfraction(<0.02%) of the returned sampling specific subgroups; most commonly livelihood publications were relevant, suggesting that the search groups (16 studies), followed by gender (7 studies), terms were sufficiently broad to capture most relevant wealth (5), social status (2), age (3), and level of education (1). 330 Conservation Letters, September/October 2016, 9(5), 327–333 Copyright and Photocopying: 2015 The Authors. Conservation Letters published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Publicaons E. de Lange et al. Evaluation of social impacts publications (Pullin & Stewart 2006). As a result, the data of snapshot designs means that these are rarely captured set is adequately representative of practice in assessing fully (Gurney et al. 2014; Woodhouse et al. 2015) the social impacts of protected areas to date. The surge The final component of impact evaluation is data in published evaluations since 2007 could be a reflection collection. A large majority of studies used a combination of a general increase in publication within the field of of data-collection methods. The most commonly used— conservation science. Alternatively, it could reflect grow- the semi-structured interview survey - was frequently ing recognition of the need to evaluate the social impacts combined with key informant interviews or focus group of conservation (Ferraro & Pattanayak 2006; Cowling & discussions. These combinations are particularly useful Wilhelm-Rechmann 2007). for collecting mixed data, allowing structured or quanti- Overall, the view taken of human wellbeing by the tative data from the interview survey to be supported by studies was limited. Only one study examined the full more in-depth qualitative data, and both objective and breadth of aspects (Silva 2006), while the vast majority subjective measures of change in wellbeing to be cap- examined only a small number. A narrow view of wellbe- tured. A large majority of studies sampled households as ing is unlikely to reflect reality as improvements in mea- these are the basic unit around which economic activity sured aspects could be offset by undetected declines in is organized. This is consistent with the focus on material others. For example, one study found that, compared to aspects of wellbeing such as income and assets. However, controls, households in a national park showed improved as different people conceive of wellbeing and are im- health indicators but lower income and less trust in their pacted in different ways, heterogeneity may exist within neighbors (Foerster et al. 2011). Measuring only income a household, for example across gender and age groups. could have led to the conclusion that proximity to the It is important that this heterogeneity is captured through park decreased wellbeing, although the reality was much sampling individuals, not just taking household averages. more complex. It is worrying then that material aspects This would enable distributional dimensions of equity to of wellbeing are overwhelmingly dominant, with almost be captured (Daw et al. 2011). Similarly, impacts are man- half of studies examining nothing else. As our concep- ifested heterogeneously within the community, and this tion of wellbeing is refined, evaluators should broaden is poorly captured by most studies. Only a few ensured the range of information they collect accordingly. that specific subgroups were included in the sample, and Different evaluation designs are appropriate for of these only one or two subgroups were sampled. The different research questions, audiences, types of inter- fact that the most common subgroups were livelihoods- vention, and capacities (Stern et al. 2012). The strength based reflects the material view of wellbeing adopted. of quasi-experimental designs, with a counterfactual, lies No changes in the approach to evaluating impacts in attribution and estimation of impact magnitudes— over time were found; evaluators have not broadened information often desired by donors and policy makers their view of wellbeing, and remain largely reliant building an evidence base. However, most studies fa- on snapshot studies capturing the perceptions of lo- vored nonstatistical methods of causal inference and cal people. Using perceptions data suggests a positive study designs without controls or baselines, instead engagement with subjective aspects of wellbeing and using snapshot designs and local perceptions or infer- with local people, whose support is vital for success- ence by the researcher. These patterns may have more ful conservation. However, this should be complemented power to explain and contextualize impacts, and so be with evaluations providing robust evidence of causal link- more useful than quasi-experimental approaches for ages, ensuring wider legitimacy. The absence of change improving protected area management at the site level. in the methodology suggests that the discussion un- However, the emphasis on nonstatistical attributions derway in the academic conservation literature is not by academic authors is unexpected as their reliability is yet being translated into evaluation practice. As calls hard to ascertain, and these methods can be prone to for impact evaluation in conservation were made rel- bias and manipulation when not done systematically atively recently, with one of the earliest being Fer- and with care regarding equity of participation (Catley raro & Pattanayak (2006), it may still be too soon for et al. 2008; Ferraro 2009; Gertler et al. 2011). Overall, adoption of new evaluation methods to be reflected in further analysis would be required in order to draw the literature. However as we covered both academic reliable conclusions on the quality and appropriateness and grey literature, one might have expected some in- of all the evaluation approaches employed to the specific dication of new approaches being adopted if the grey circumstances of each case study. On another note, little literature is more rapidly published. Also, the sharp in- is currently understood about the trajectory of change in crease in the volume of literature after 2007 suggests that impacts over time (Woolcock 2009) and the prevalence social impact evaluations are becoming more common, Conservation Letters, September/October 2016, 9(5), 327–333 Copyright and Photocopying: 2015 The Authors. Conservation Letters published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. 331 Evaluation of social impacts E. de Lange et al. even as the methods used remain unchanged. There may from participatory well-being assessment in Kenya. Ambio., therefore also be barriers preventing implementation of 42(8), 1010-1021. Baker, J.L. (2000). Evaluating the impact of development projects new methods, such as budgets, time or technical capacity. on poverty: a handbook for practitioners.World Bank Guidance adaptable to different scenarios of capacity, Publications. Washington D.C., USA. budget and objectives is beginning to emerge (IIED, 2014; Bashar, S.A. (2013). Impact of MACH project activities on Wongbusarakum et al. 2014; Woodhouse et al. 2015;), socio-economic and environmental conditions in Keuta and in time this will improve the quality of evaluation, Beel of Sherpur District. Pages 62-80 in J. Fox, M.G. provided that practitioners are given the right support. Mustafa, Bryan R. Bushley, Stephen M. Brennan, and Direct collaboration between academic researchers and Laurie , editors. 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