1 Tahrcountry Musings: Flagships

Thursday, February 10, 2011


In between my busy hopping I managed to read an excellent paper on flagships.

There is lot of uncertainty in the academic literature about the purpose of flagship species, even though it is frequently used by conservation practitioners to raise funds and awareness for reducing biodiversity loss.

In this paper the authors suggest a new definition that further emphasizes their marketing role and propose an interdisciplinary framework to improve flagship identification, which is based on methodologies from social marketing, environmental economics, and conservation biology. 

The authors recommend that the conservationists should specify the purpose of a campaign before working with the potential target audience to identify the most suitable species, and should monitor the success of their campaigns and feed this back into the marketing process. 

The authors goes on to discuss the return on investment analyses to determine when funds are best spent on high-profile flagships and when raising the profile of other species is more appropriate. 

The authors’ signs off saying that flagship concept can be applied to other aspects of biodiversity, such as priority regions and species sharing specific traits and argue for closer collaboration between researchers and marketing experts to ensure that marketing becomes a mainstream part of the interdisciplinary science of conservation.

Toward a systematic approach for identifying conservation flagships

Diogo Verissimo, Douglas C. MacMillan, Robert J. Smith

Article first published online: 29 NOV 2010 in Conservation Letters

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