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A framework for monitoring social process and outcomes in environmental programs


  • Chapman, Sarah


When environmental programs frame their activities as being in the service of human wellbeing, social variables need to be integrated into monitoring and evaluation (M&E) frameworks. This article draws upon ecosystem services theory to develop a framework to guide the M&E of collaborative environmental programs with anticipated social benefits. The framework has six components: program need, program activities, pathway process variables, moderating process variables, outcomes, and program value. Needs are defined in terms of ecosystem services, as well as other human needs that must be addressed to achieve outcomes. The pathway variable relates to the development of natural resource governance capacity in the target community. Moderating processes can be externalities such as the inherent capacity of the natural system to service ecosystem needs, local demand for natural resources, policy or socio-economic drivers. Internal program-specific processes relate to program service delivery, targeting and participant responsiveness. Ecological outcomes are expressed in terms of changes in landscape structure and function, which in turn influence ecosystem service provision. Social benefits derived from the program are expressed in terms of the value of the eco-social service to user-specified goals. The article provides suggestions from the literature for identifying indicators and measures for components and component variables, and concludes with an example of how the framework was used to inform the M&E of an adaptive co-management program in western Kenya.

Suggested Citation

  • Chapman, Sarah, 2014. "A framework for monitoring social process and outcomes in environmental programs," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 45-53.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:epplan:v:47:y:2014:i:c:p:45-53
    DOI: 10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2014.07.004

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. de Groot, Rudolf S. & Wilson, Matthew A. & Boumans, Roelof M. J., 2002. "A typology for the classification, description and valuation of ecosystem functions, goods and services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 393-408, June.
    2. A. J. Dougill & E. D. G. Fraser & J. Holden & K. Hubacek & C. Prell & M. S. Reed & S. Stagl & L. C. Stringer, 2006. "Learning from Doing Participatory Rural Research: Lessons from the Peak District National Park," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 259-275, July.
    3. Marwa Khalifa & Stephen Connelly, 2009. "Monitoring and guiding development in rural Egypt: local sustainable development indicators and local Human Development Indices," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 11(6), pages 1175-1196, December.
    4. Chambers, R. & Conway, G. R., 1991. "Sustainable rural livelihoods: Practical concepts for the 21st century," IWMI Books, Reports H032821, International Water Management Institute.
    5. M. Muro & P. Jeffrey, 2008. "A critical review of the theory and application of social learning in participatory natural resource management processes," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(3), pages 325-344.
    6. Reed, Mark S. & Fraser, Evan D.G. & Dougill, Andrew J., 2006. "An adaptive learning process for developing and applying sustainability indicators with local communities," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(4), pages 406-418, October.
    7. Fisher, Brendan & Turner, R. Kerry & Morling, Paul, 2009. "Defining and classifying ecosystem services for decision making," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 643-653, January.
    8. Margoluis, Richard & Stem, Caroline & Salafsky, Nick & Brown, Marcia, 2009. "Using conceptual models as a planning and evaluation tool in conservation," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 138-147, May.
    9. Plummer, Ryan & Armitage, Derek, 2007. "A resilience-based framework for evaluating adaptive co-management: Linking ecology, economics and society in a complex world," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 62-74, February.
    10. Fisher, Brendan & Christopher, Treg, 2007. "Poverty and biodiversity: Measuring the overlap of human poverty and the biodiversity hotspots," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 93-101, April.
    11. Chuenpagdee, Ratana & Jentoft, Svein, 2007. "Step zero for fisheries co-management: What precedes implementation," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 657-668, November.
    12. Scherr, Sara J., 1995. "Economic factors in farmer adoption of agroforestry: Patterns observed in Western Kenya," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 787-804, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:ecoser:v:29:y:2018:i:pc:p:428-440 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Anzoise, Valentina & Sardo, Stefania, 2016. "Dynamic systems and the role of evaluation: The case of the Green Communities project," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 162-172.
    3. Dunkley, Ria A. & Franklin, Alex, 2017. "Failing better: The stochastic art of evaluating community-led environmental action programs," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 112-122.


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