Understanding the Human Factor in Endangered Species Recovery: An Introduction to Human Social 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

Richard L. Wallace
Environmental Studies Program, Ursinus College, P.O. Box 1000, Collegeville, PA 19426

Biologists often take a technical biological view of species recovery, overlooking the necessity of
attending to the human factor. The Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi) and Yellowstone
grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) cases illustrate negative consequences to a recovery program
when social process is overlooked, under-attended to, or ignored. Understanding human social
process in practical terms is essential as species will be recovered only if human social process can
be made to effectively support restoration. A practical model of social process (i.e. participants,
their perspectives, situations, values, strategies, outcomes, and effects) is described and a method
to realistically "map" the social process is introduced. Seven kinds of public participation in species
recovery are described. It is recommended that greater attention be given to social process
dimensions of species recovery at the same time that biological issues are addressed and the public
be involved actively in support of species conservation.