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Social diversity for ecosystem management in La Palma Biosphere Reserve, Canary Islands: Perspectives, knowledge and management practices among local stewards in the near-shore marine ecosystem
Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 40 credits / 60 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Adaptive approaches to ecosystem management emphasize that ecosystems need to be treated as complex social-ecological systems. Furthermore, both ecological and social diversity need to be enhanced to improve the adaptability of such systems to surprises. Social diversity is approached here by studying the diversity of plausible contributions of local stewards groups to ecosystem management, i.e. perspectives of the ecosystem, ecological knowledge and management practices. These variables are explored by means of 28 interviews to representatives of the 8 local steward groups of the near-shore marine ecosystem of La Palma Biosphere Reserve. The flow diagramming technique is used to elicit mental models about ecosystem. Results show that local stewards of the studied system provide social diversity. Their contribution differs among local steward groups, being acknowledgeable for official managers, conservationists and professional fishers. However, key carriers of diversity are found in all groups. Local stewards share a mental model in terms of consensually acknowledging that the near-shore marine ecosystem is degraded and what are the main drivers that lead to this situation. However, they have not been able to respond to them in the current governance system. Different kinds of knowledge, including experiential and scientific, are gathered, combined, and spread through formal and informal social networks. These networks can provide channels to combine the social diversity in place for the sake of ecosystem management. The Biosphere Reserve Consortium has a key role in facilitating these networks with the potential to become a platform for learning. The findings draw attention to the need of enhancing formal and informal social networks to gather the diversity provided by local stewards, avoiding the risk of this leading to homogenisation of mental models and knowledge.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 67 p.
Keyword [en]
adaptive co-management, local stewards, La Palma, biosphere reserve, social diversity, local ecological knowledge, local management practices, social networks, mental models.
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-91111OAI: diva2:630868
Available from: 2013-07-11 Created: 2013-06-19 Last updated: 2013-07-11Bibliographically approved

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