Understanding Knowledge and Communication Needs: Summary of Stakeholder Survey Results

In May 2016, The ESBN conducted a survey to understand how our stakeholders rate their current knowledge of ecosystem services and biodiversity concepts and their awareness of the ESBN. The goal of the survey was to determine the most effective means of engagement and communication, and to establish a baseline against which we can judge the success of the engagement project over time.

Who was Engaged:

70 participants responded to the survey, which was emailed to our list of stakeholders, distributed throughout the, and shared through online means (website, blog and social media).  The majority of participants were associated with Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations. Other groups included, academia, provincial and municipal government, industry groups, consultants, and interested citizens.

Stakeholder Knowledge on Ecosystem Services: Key Learnings

The survey asked participants to rate their knowledge in various ecosystem services, biodiversity and market concepts. The common areas where stakeholders considered themselves to have low knowledge levels included:

  • Markets for ecosystem services and biodiversity;
  • Ecosystem services assessment; and
  • Economic valuation of ecosystem services

These findings confirmed that the socioeconomic work is a priority area for education and information sharing among our stakeholders.

The survey also highlighted an opportunity to direct our outreach around the use of market-based approaches as an alternative for restoring and enhancing ecosystem services, especially on public land. There was a definitive divide among survey respondents on how financial incentives should be incorporated into land use planning. The majority of respondents agreed financial incentives are necessary on private land, but believe that government regulation is necessary to improve environmental health on public lands. While regulation will be a key policy tool, market based approaches can fill the policy gap when command and control policies become inefficient.

Furthermore, the majority of stakeholders believed ecosystem service benefits increased on natural landscapes, but are reduced on agricultural grasslands. There is an opportunity here for the ESBN to demonstrate how ecosystem services can be enhanced on agricultural land through the implementation of best management practices and land stewardship.

Preferences for Communication

The final section of the survey focused on communication preferences. The survey asked participants how they are currently receiving their information and how else we can effectively share information with them.  Currently, stakeholders who participated in this survey indicated the top three ways of receiving information are through:

  • Websites
  • Attending conferences/workshops
  • Networking

When asked about how we can better engage and communicate with them, participants indicated their preference for newsletters, mail-outs, and one-page style updates as well as more face-to-face networking opportunities.

Communication - Key Learnings

  1. Stakeholders are looking for information to be easily accessible: our website provides a central, go-to source for ecosystem services and biodiversity information, and is designed in such a way that information can be shared by anyone who creates a profile on our site (pending approval from site administrators). There is also an opportunity to increase collaboration by creating a virtual network of experts sharing information together.
  2. Stakeholders are looking for quick, efficient and easy-to-understand information: newsletters, and one-page style updates, for example, are able to keep stakeholders informed with the progress of our work. Fact sheets are another a valuable way to provide details on important concepts and projects in a concise, non-technical, and easy-to-understand manner.
  3. Stakeholders value the face-to-face interaction and outreach: Networking opportunities should be a priority in outreach planning.

Thank you to all of our participants!  The ESBN will work alongside the communications teams of our partner organizations to ensure we are meeting your information and communication needs for ecosystem services and biodiversity.

For more detailed survey results, contact Elisa Valade at