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Participation and management performance in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Systems Ecology. (Natural Resource Management)
(English)Manuscript (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Abstract [en]

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.

Keyword [en]
adaptive co-management, stakeholders, participation, effectiveness, biodiversity conservation, sustainable development
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-27524OAI: diva2:214578
Available from: 2009-05-06 Created: 2009-05-06 Last updated: 2012-01-10Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Nurturing resilience in social-ecological systems: Lessons learned from bridging organizations
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Nurturing resilience in social-ecological systems: Lessons learned from bridging organizations
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In an increasingly complex, rapidly changing world, the capacity to cope with, adapt to, and shape change is vital. This thesis investigates how natural resource management can be organized and practiced to nurture this capacity, referred to as resilience, in social-ecological systems. Based on case studies and large-N data sets from UNESCO Biosphere Reserves (BRs) and the UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA), it analyzes actors and social processes involved in adaptive co-management on the ground. Papers I & II use Kristianstads Vattenrike BR to analyze the roles of local stewards and bridging organizations. Here, local stewards, e.g. farmers and bird watchers, provide on-site management, detailed, long-term monitoring, and local ecological knowledge, build public support for ecosystem management, and hold unique links to specialized networks. A bridging organization strengthens their initiatives. Building and drawing on multi-level networks, it gathers different types of ecological knowledge, builds moral, political, legal and financial support from institutions and organizations, and identifies windows of opportunity for projects. Paper III synthesizes the MA community-based assessments and points to the importance of bridging organizations, leadership and vision, knowledge networks, institutions nested across scales, enabling policies, and high motivation among actors for adaptive co-management. Paper IV explores learning processes catalyzed by bridging organizations in BRs. 79 of the 148 BRs analyzed bridge local and scientific knowledge in efforts to conserve biodiversity and foster sustainable development, provide learning platforms, support knowledge generation (research, monitoring and experimentation), and frame information and education to target groups. Paper V tests the effects of participation and adaptive co-management in BRs. Local participation is positively linked to local support, successful integration of conservation and development, and effectiveness in achieving developmental goals. Participation of scientists is linked to effectiveness in achieving ‘conventional’ conservation goals and policy-makers enhance the integration of conservation and development. Adaptive co-management, found in 46 BRs, is positively linked to self-evaluated effectiveness in achieving developmental goals, but not at the expense of conservation. The thesis concludes that adaptive collaboration and learning processes can nurture resilience in social-ecological systems. Such processes often need to be catalyzed, supported and protected to survive. Therefore, bridging organizations are crucial in adaptive co-management.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University, 2009. 50 p.
adaptive co-management, social-ecological resilience, local stewards, bridging organizations, learning, participation, Kristianstads Vattenrike, Biosphere Reserves, sustainable development, biodiversity conservation, ecosystem management
National Category
Natural Sciences
Research subject
Natural Resources Management
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-27503 (URN)978-91-7155-892-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2009-06-04, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 8 A, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2009-05-14 Created: 2009-05-05 Last updated: 2009-06-09Bibliographically approved

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