If you have not done a situation analysis before, or have largely done them in the past with a focus on conservation primary interests, these steps may be a helpful way to go through the process.
- Start by listing the primary interests, both conservation and human interests.
- Write all of the primary interests in a column in the middle of a whiteboard, or using sticky notes on a wall, or on a large piece of paper.
- From each primary interest as a starting point, draw links to the left reflecting specific direct drivers of current challenges to the primary interest.
- Further to the left, add in links to indirect drivers or contributing factor. Be as specific as possible. For example, instead of listing existing laws as a driver, state what about the law leads to the current undesirable situation (e.g. law not stringent enough, law not enforced)
- Return to the primary interests, and draw to the right any direct environmental, social or economic outcomes of the current state of primary interests. For example, if declining urban forest extent is a primary interest, it could be driving population declines of species of concern, contributing to local temperature increases (both direct environmental outcomes) and reducing opportunities for urban recreation (direct social outcome).
- Then add further to the right any indirect environmental, social or economic outcomes of the current state of primary interests. Continue these pathways until you have considered whether each may end in a social or economic outcome. It is likely that all will either through ecosystem service pathways or through intrinsic value. Continue drawing factors (drivers and opportunities) and links until your diagram includes all the relevant actors and stakeholders.
- You may find in this process that some primary interests are drivers or outcomes of others. This is the nature of complex socio-ecological systems, and these linkages help us see which conservation and human primary interests are connected. Primary interests may also be connected by shared drivers. Keep in mind that the purpose of this exercise is to start the exploration of the socio-ecological system, and the primary interests do not need to remain in any specific orientation through this process. Figure 5, above, is an illustrative situation analysis for wind energy development in the Central Great Plains that includes many of the attributes described here (e.g., primary interests, direct and indirect drivers).
In Phase 2 of CbD 2.0 (map strategies and places) strategies are generated by considering intervention points and how the actions of actors could be altered to benefit the conservation and human well-being interests, so this step should include the current influence pathways of all the actors you may seek to engage with your strategies.