Making Partnerships Work in Endangered Species Conservation: An Introduction to the Decision Process

Tim W. Clark
Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, 301 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06511 and Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative, Box 2705, Jackson, WY 83001

Ronald D. Brunner
Center for Public Policy Studies and Department of Political Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0333

Partnerships are being used in endangered species conservation to improve effectiveness. The
partnership goal is to increase cooperation, maximize resources available, and improve chances of
species' recovery. Ideally, partnerships are unified by a common interest — recovery. However, in
practice this is not necessarily the case as participants are differentially motivated and some carry
out narrow self-serving actions within partnerships. As a result, "goal-substitution" weakens partnerships
and increases the likelihood of failure. Endangered species case examples highlight that
dysfunctionality is common to recovery programs and support our view that a better understanding
of the decision process involved can improve recovery. Effectiveness of partnerships can be improved
by teaching participants how to recognize and avert common problems, and how to build,
lead, and participate in a better decision making process. The decision process is a means of
reconciling or at least managing conflicts (i.e. rational, political, and moral conflicts) among policies
through politics, and is comprised of seven functions: intelligence, promotion, prescription,
invocation, application, appraisal, and termination. These activities are described, examples given,
standards recommended, and questions to ask about each are given. The existence of a recovery
program does not necessarily mean that partners are using a good decision process. However, a
high quality decision process will make endangered species conservation most effective and efficient,
and minimize failure.