Diverse stakeholder perspectives and ecosystem services ranking: Application of the Q-methodology to Hawane Dam and Nature Reserve in Eswatini


This paper uses the Q methodology to identify and analyze the diverse perspectives different stakeholders held about Hawane Dam and Nature Reserve (HDNR) wetland ecosystem services (ESS), to guide conservation management actions. Using 72 representative stakeholders to sort 40 statements describing ESS into a predefined distribution and a by-person factor analysis, the results show that stakeholders held three distinct perspectives that we labelled “water users”, “conservationists”, and “traditional users”. There emerged consensus across stakeholders about the relatively high importance of the wetland purification and regulating functions, and the relative low importance of the recreation function. Farmers with relatively fewer livestock and households closer to HDNR ranked a mixture of extractive, cultural and regulation services relatively higher, while urban households ranked extractive water uses that go beyond the more traditional uses higher. Finally, water uses for household and farming activities emerged as non-controversial services, since they were ranked as very important by at least two groups and neutral by the third. The paper concludes by showing how the results contribute to conservation management and reducing problem “wickedness” (or improved problem definition).

Ecological Economics
Damien Jourdain
Damien Jourdain
Agricultural and Natural Resources Economist

My research interests include technical change, use of natural resources by farming households, environmental valuation