Using a Systematic Approach to Select Flagship Species for Bird Conservation

Conserv Biol. 2014 Feb;28(1):269-77. doi: 10.1111/cobi.12142. Epub 2013 Sep 4.


Conservation marketing campaigns that focus on flagship species play a vital role in biological diversity conservation because they raise funds and change people's behavior. However, most flagship species are selected without considering the target audience of the campaign, which can hamper the campaign's effectiveness. To address this problem, we used a systematic and stakeholder-driven approach to select flagship species for a conservation campaign in the Serra do Urubu in northeastern Brazil. We based our techniques on environmental economic and marketing methods. We used choice experiments to examine the species attributes that drive preference and latent-class models to segment respondents into groups by preferences and socioeconomic characteristics. We used respondent preferences and information on bird species inhabiting the Serra do Urubu to calculate a flagship species suitability score. We also asked respondents to indicate their favorite species from a set list to enable comparison between methods. The species' traits that drove audience preference were geographic distribution, population size, visibility, attractiveness, and survival in captivity. However, the importance of these factors differed among groups and groups differed in their views on whether species with small populations and the ability to survive in captivity should be prioritized. The popularity rankings of species differed between approaches, a result that was probably related to the different ways in which the 2 methods measured preference. Our new approach is a transparent and evidence-based method that can be used to refine the way stakeholders are engaged in the design of conservation marketing campaigns.

Keywords: Atlantic Forest; Brasil; Brazil; choice experiments; experimentos de selección; latent-class model; marketing; mata Atlántica; mercadeo; modelo de clase latente; vote; voto.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Biodiversity*
  • Birds*
  • Brazil
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / economics
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / methods*
  • Environmental Policy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marketing
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires