The Dynamics of Value Interactions in Endangered Species Conservation

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

Conserving endangered species is a technical task, but it is also highly value laden. Yet the value
dimension of conservation is often overlooked or ignored by most participants. Values — the things
and events in life that people desire, aim at, wish for, or demand — figure into all aspects of conservation,
including the science component; in fact, values are the basic medium of exchange in all
human interactions. Values may be functionally categorized as power, wealth, skill, enlightenment,
affection, well-being, respect, and rectitude, all of which are needed for people to live with dignity in
a healthy environment. A 2000 paper by Scott Johnson describing the Hawaiian crow (Corvus
hawaiiensis) case is used as an example of the importance of values to endangered species recovery
efforts. Participants in this recovery effort at first were unable to appreciate and manage the valuebased
dynamics to promote conservation, but later were able to make some improvements. Attending
to value dynamics in a conscious, systematic way can enhance species conservation in all cases.