Primary interests represent what the conservation organization, influential actors, and important stakeholders care about in the context of the socio-ecological system. For the Conservancy, primary interests begin with conservation targets (e.g. species of concern [endangered species], habitats, ecological processes [e.g.,water quality regulation, evolution, climate adaptation, etc.]). Conservancy staff should keep in mind the organizational orientation of aiming to achieve systemic change when selecting conservation targets as this will likely influence the number and types of targets chosen.
At this stage the purpose is to identify all relevant interests for all involved. Primary interests of other organizations or stakeholder groups should also be included in terms provided by or accepted by these groups. These are likely to reflect a broad set of human interests (e.g. employment, income, food security, education, equality, access to resources, cultural sites, political instability/conflict/crime, urban growth, business opportunities). All identified as key primary interests should be included in the situation analysis. The point of the analysis is to identify which of these primary interests are strongly connected to conservation interests.
Broadly defining primary interests early in the process allows representation of important values held by all key stakeholders that provide opportunities for identifying links or trade-offs between them.