Participation and management performance in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves
(English)Manuscript (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Studies that evaluate the effects of stakeholder participation on conservation outcomes and sustainability are rare. In this article we use the World Network of Biosphere Reserves to analyze the effects of participation and adaptive co-management in this context. Analyzing survey-responses from 146 Biosphere Reserves in 55 countries we investigate how different degrees of participation of a range of actors relate to management performance in reaching the objectives stated in UNESCO's Statutory framework for Biosphere Reserves. The analysis is based on survey respondents' self-evaluation of effectiveness. We also test to what extent stakeholder participation is linked to increased support for Biosphere Reserve objectives and management, and the effect of adaptive co-management on management performance. The analysis suggests that there is a weak, but significant linkage between the involvement of local inhabitants in decision making and implementation, and the support from people living in the Biosphere Reserve. No other effects of participation on support were found. Furthermore, involving local inhabitants in one additional implementation process increases the likelihood of finding a successful project that integrates conservation and development with about 1.4 times, and the participation of politicians and governmental administrators in one additional decision-making process increases the likelihood with about 1.3 times. No other effects of stakeholders' participation on successful integration were found. Turning to the issue of effectiveness, a factor analysis revealed two clusters among the objectives. One had strong loadings on effectiveness in conservation, research, monitoring and education, and was interpreted as related to 'conventional' biodiversity conservation. The other had strong loadings on fostering social and economic development, and facilitating dialogue, collaboration and integration of different objectives, and was interpreted as related to conservation for sustainable development. Conventional conservation was positively affected by participation of scientists, but negatively affected by participation of volunteers. Effectiveness in sustainable development goals was associated to participation by local inhabitants. Adaptive co-management practices were associated with a higher level of effectiveness in achieving developmental goals, and this higher effectiveness did not seem to be at the expense of biodiversity conservation. A total of 46 Biosphere Reserves fulfilled the adaptive co-management criteria and provide an interesting set of cases to follow systematically in the search for deeper understanding of social-ecological systems dynamics.
adaptive co-management, stakeholders, participation, effectiveness, biodiversity conservation, sustainable development
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-27524OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-27524DiVA: diva2:214578