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Compassionate Conservation DELPHI:  Conservation Practice 



The Delphi Method

A Delphi (a.k.a., Delphi method, Delphi technique) is a systematic, structured conversation meant to identify and clarify points of agreement and difference, seek a broadly shared consensus where possible, and pinpoint issues that call for further dialogue and refinement among a community of experts.

Delphis are conducted in multiple rounds consisting of responses to an evolving set of survey and open-ended questions. Each round of responses is synthesized; respondents are then asked to validate the synthesis. Subsequent rounds of survey and open-ended questions grow out of these syntheses until the topic is satisfactorily explored.

With the exception of those conducting the Delphi, participation is fully, or in some cases, partially anonymous. Participant anonymity affords respondents opportunities to voice heterodox ideas and opinions free of interpersonal or institutional constraints.

Focus: Compassionate Conservation Practice

Compassionate conservation (CC) is an emerging alternative paradigm of conservation. As such, the theories and practices of CC are still being worked out. A CC Delphi will bring members of our community into sustained dialogue to discuss the future directions of CC. Much of the work to date in CC has critiqued the moral and scientific presuppositions of traditional conservation (TC). This includes outlining some of the theoretical justifications for CC (e.g., principalism, virtue theory, multispecies justice, pluralism) and questioning received wisdom about invasive species, translocation, and the nature of biodiversity. Less attention has been given to practices (e.g., policies, interventions and field techniques) that are resonant with the ethics of CC.

Purpose of this Delphi

This Delphi is being conducted to identify detailed points of convergence and divergence in what practices and actions constitute a Compassionate Conservation approach. 

Who Will Participate?

For the purposes of this Delphi, we will invite participants who are both positively disposed to, and who are well versed in CC . If this Delphi proves useful, we will consider subsequent Delphis that bring those sympathetic and skeptical into a wider conversation.

Structure & Schedule

Structure & Schedule

From the summer of 2021 through the fall of 2022, the Delphi will run a new round of research every several months. The final round culminates in a roundtable discussion of the Delphi's results and next steps for the community. .


Info & Ownership

Review project and register via website.

Register, build your familiarity with the Delphi process and get comfortable about how to contribute. 


Questions/clarification about process

Round 1

Scoping CC Practice

Complete survey scoping CC practice. 

Identify the range of practices that CC practitioners consider as appropriate for Compassionate Conservation.  


Project team summary and participants validate of summary.

Round 2

Discussing Practices

Discuss practices using online platforms.

Discuss key practices identified in the 'Scoping the Problem' round, drawing out their pros & cons, and describing the range of views present.   


Project team summary and participants validate of summary.

Round 3

Digging into the Detail

Text based responses to ideas that have emerged.

Discuss the convergences and divergencies between participates identified in the 'Discussing Practices' round.


Project team summary and participants validate of summary.


Meet and Discuss

Meet online to debrief and share thoughts on process.

Meet with other participants and discuss the Delphi CC process. 


Discuss publication and future projects.



You will have the opportunity to express your views on Compassionate Conservation practice in a safe environment. Your ideas and expertise will directly contribute to the developing understanding of CC practice.


You will be participating with Compassionate Conservation experts from around the world with a wide range of experiences and expertise. You will have the opportunity to share and discuss ideas openly and learn from one another.


All participants who complete at least two of the rounds of the Delphi will be included as co-authors on a peer-reviewed research paper describing the outcomes from this research.

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