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Identify stakeholders and values for beneficiaries

Beneficiaries benefit from ecosystem services provided by the environment. However, not all people in the system are beneficiaries and some stakeholders may not benefit from, or are negatively impacted by, a service. Identifying and documenting stakeholders and beneficiaries and how they are affected by the services from an ecosystem enables decision-makers to understand potential conflicts and opportunities[2].

Values can be biophysical, economic, social, and/or cultural and should be included in decision-making to ensure that management interventions represent what matters to beneficiaries[2].

Whole-of-System, Values-Based Framework locator diagram

In addition to intrinsic values, there can be a range of beneficiaries valuing the services produced by a system (and therefore, a diverse range of values). For example, one beneficiary might value the aesthetic benefits that a coastal wetland provides, while another beneficiary might value the same wetland for the protection it provides from storm surges.

Identifying stakeholders and beneficiaries

Having a thorough understanding of the system’s components, processes, and services will provide a starting point for identifying the types of stakeholder and beneficiary groups who may be interested in management activities. These groups could include:

Stakeholders and beneficiaries can be identified through several methods. These could include:

  • holding a focus group to brainstorm the categories of stakeholders/beneficiaries that might have an interest in a project and then meeting with them,
  • interviewing stakeholders and beneficiaries with whom the project team already has relationships to identify additional people who may be interested in the project,
  • stakeholders and beneficiaries self-identifying themselves as having an interest in the project[6]

Identifying values for beneficiaries

Social, cultural and economic values can be identified by actively engaging stakeholders and beneficiaries, using the ecosystem services list, through:

  • formal interviews with stakeholders and beneficiaries
  • focus groups,
  • surveys, or
  • informal conversations held during the co-design process[4][6].

Not all values can be expressed in monetary terms, and this does not reduce the importance of the values.

In identifying values, it is important to document existing values, derived from the system in its current state, and the potential values, including the stakeholders and beneficiaries, which may be generated after management interventions or during particular events.

Recognising and managing conflicting values

Because different beneficiaries and stakeholders have differing values, there is potential for conflicts between beneficiaries or for stakeholders to be negatively impacted by a management intervention[1]. For instance, a project that focuses on achieving improved biodiversity outcomes in the system by revegetating or converting agricultural land may benefit those who value the system for its existence or bequest value (e.g. for future generations), but negatively impact those stakeholders who value the system for food production or economic benefits. The potential for conflict must be considered in decision-making and may be partially managed by an explicit understanding of stakeholders, values, and the components and processes of the system[5].


  1. ^ Avni, N & Teschner, N (November 2019), 'Urban Waterfronts: Contemporary Streams of Planning Conflicts', Journal of Planning Literature. [online], vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 408-420. Available at: [Accessed 30 September 2021].
  2. ^ a b Chan, KMA, Satterfield, T & Goldstein, J (February 2012), 'Rethinking ecosystem services to better address and navigate cultural values', Ecological Economics. [online], vol. 74, pp. 8-18. Available at: [Accessed 23 June 2021].
  3. ^ Everard, M & Waters, R (2013), Ecosystem services assessment: How to do one in practice (Version 1, October 13). [online], Institution of Environmental Sciences, London. Available at:
  4. ^ Kati, V & Jari, N (January 2016), 'Bottom-up thinking—Identifying socio-cultural values of ecosystem services in local blue–green infrastructure planning in Helsinki, Finland', Land Use Policy. [online], vol. 50, pp. 537-547. Available at: [Accessed 8 January 2021].
  5. ^ Kenter, JO, O'Brien, L, Hockley, N, Ravenscroft, N, Fazey, I, Irvine, KN, Reed, MS, Christie, M, Brady, E, Bryce, R, Church, A, Cooper, N, Davies, A, Evely, A, Everard, M, Fish, R, Fisher, JA, Jobstvogt, N, Molloy, C, Orchard-Webb, J, Ranger, S, Ryan, M, Watson, V & Williams, S (March 2015), 'What are shared and social values of ecosystems?', Ecological Economics. [online], vol. 111, pp. 86-99. Available at: [Accessed 30 September 2021].
  6. ^ a b c Reed, MS, Graves, A, Dandy, N, Posthumus, H, Hubacek, K, Morris, J, Prell, C, Quinn, CH & Stringer, LC (April 2009), 'Who's in and why? A typology of stakeholder analysis methods for natural resource management', Journal of Environmental Management. [online], vol. 90, no. 5, pp. 1933-1949. Available at: [Accessed 22 November 2021].

Last updated: 30 June 2022

This page should be cited as:

Department of Environment, Science and Innovation, Queensland (2022) Identify stakeholders and values for beneficiaries, WetlandInfo website, accessed 18 March 2024. Available at:

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment, Science and Innovation