In a world characterized by ongoing overexploitation of finite resources—such as land and forests—stakeholder conflicts over use of remaining resources occur frequently and are likely to intensify. There is increasing awareness of the need to better understand individual stakeholders’ perspectives, which often condition behavior, in order to address conflicts and inform wider policymaking. We used the Q method to capture the perspectives of diverse stakeholders and highlight consensus and distinguishing statements. Our results bring to the fore three main perspectives on deforestation (development, family agriculture, and subsistence) and several points of agreement and disagreement. The strongest disagreement concerns the benefits and costs of deforestation: the development perspective portrays benefits as mutual and costs as marginal, whereas the family agriculture and subsistence perspectives associate no benefits and extreme costs with deforestation—including loss of livelihoods and culture. Nevertheless, stakeholder consensus emerges on other points—especially the need for participatory long-term strategies of land use. This paper shows how the Q method can be applied to better understand land-use conflicts.
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