and to the costs required to preserve biodiversity. Indeed, the problem is not simply that people assign different weights to the various outcomes of biodiversity-related policies. As noted in chapter 4, people also think in different ways about how to consider biodiversity: some are willing to accept tradeoffs of the sort examined in a BCA, and others that some threats to biodiversity invoke moral imperatives that outweigh efficiency calculations and preclude tradeoffs. Even with perfect scientific information, managers would face controversy because of different values and different ways of thinking about them.
Better science and better policy analysis might help to reduce controversy by clarifying options, and social-science research can improve the understanding of the diversity of value positions held by stakeholders. But research and analysis will not make conflict disappear.
We believe that the best strategy for managers of biodiversity faced with difficult decisions, scientific uncertainty, and public conflict is to make use of deliberation with interested parties (Dietz and Stern 1998). Ultimately, decisions in the public realm must be made by managers who hold statutory responsibility for the resources that they manage. But their decisions can be informed by skillful use of deliberation. Deliberation cannot eliminate conflict, but it can clarify the bases of conflict, build trust among those who disagree, and provide for a learning process that leads to better and more-informed decisions.
Fiorino (1990) has suggested three reasons for involving the public in environmental policy: normative, substantive, and instrumental. The normative reason is based on US democratic traditions. A manager must act in a way consistent with public intent as expressed in both statutory mandates and in public expressions of concern over policy and management decisions. Structured and focused deliberation grounds valuation of biodiversity and policy decisions about biodiversity in democratic process and scientific analysis.
The substantive reason for public participation is that citizens carry knowledge that is a critical supplement to scientific analysis. This rationale is especially important for valuation problems because even the best available valuation tools are limited and uncertain and might rest on philosophical assumptions that some stakeholders reject. A structured discussion is an effective way to allow people to express their preferences, to reflect on their own values and those of others, to weigh evidence from biological and social-science analyses, to modify their views, and ultimately to provide decision-makers with information on values and value tradeoffs that supplements information from other methods.
The instrumental reason for public participation is that, in the face of conflict, participation allows for the development of compromise, trust, and engagement by those who might otherwise prove implacable foes of a proposed policy. Conventional public participation processes, however, usually do not