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Special Issue "Inclusive Governance and Management of Protected and Conserved Areas"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainability, Biodiversity and Conservation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 December 2021) | Viewed by 6110

Special Issue Editors

Dr. J. Marc Foggin
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Public Policy and Global Affairs (SPPGA), University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1, Canada
Interests: sustainability; biodiversity; conservation; livelihoods; pastoralism, culture; governance; management; values; knowledge systems
Dr. Sarah J. Halvorson
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Geography, W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, USA
Interests: water resource geography; hazards and disasters; mountain geography; gender and environment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Biodiversity is under unprecedented pressure from human activities around the globe, yet much of the international development community continues with business as usual, following extractive models of development largely discredited due to failures to internalize nature’s values together with unfair distribution of benefits. In response to these pressures on nature, a common model of conservation emerged as protected areas such as national parks; and this model has been widely exported around the world. Most attention, however, has been on the design and management of protected areas (i.e., ‘what should be done’) rather than on the equally important (if not more so) matter of their governance (i.e., ‘who decides’ what to do).

Much of the Earth’s land area, though, has already been conserved apart from this relatively recent model of ‘fortress conservation’. Over a quarter of the global terrestrial area is (or until recently has been) managed successfully by local or indigenous peoples and local communities, overlapping with around 40% of terrestrial the world’s protected areas and large ecologically intact landscapes, yet such approaches are at risk of being replaced by other detrimental activities if local and indigenous ways are not duly recognized for their contributions to conservation as well as to human wellbeing.

Therefore, strengthening the actors and all key elements of the social–ecological systems that lead to de facto conservation as well as improving the effectiveness of formal designated protected areas are both of paramount importance. Having ‘the right people at the table’ and recognizing important issues of governance are amongst the most critical factors that help lead to long-term sustainability. Additionally, the fundamental values and beliefs of diverse actors lead to choices and actions, thus contributing to development and wellbeing as well as sense of identity and hope for the future.

In this Special Issue of the journal Sustainability, we seek to bring together a wide range of studies that recognize and reflect on the multiplicity of perspectives and diversity of values that are held by different stakeholders and rights holders in context of the world’s protected and conserved areas. How inclusive and collaborative approaches and cultural perspectives may influence, constrain, or encourage and enable conservation and sustainability is the core focus of this Special Issue. Studies may examine individual sites, or networks of spaces and places. Ideally, contributors will reflect not just on insular questions at single localities, but on the wider range and oft diverse/complex suite of actors, values, perspectives, and approaches present in the focal areas of their studies—thus being more representative of the scenarios faced in real life by every person, agency, or community, and from which lessons and recommendations may be drawn to achieve sustainability.

We particularly welcome contributions situated at the interface of protected and conserved areas, on one hand, and the mainstreaming of biodiversity and conservation throughout society and across sectors, on the other hand. Negotiating across these realms requires an open mind, as both values held by different stakeholders and more tangible aspects of ecosystem dynamics should be made explicit in order to better understand the dynamic processes at play in relation to sustainability.

This collection of articles will also contribute to an identification and better understanding of ‘best practices’ that are relevant for IUCN’s Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas. For this purpose, we encourage contributions from equitably governed and managed protected and conserved areas around the world, with Sustainability being understood and considered from multiple overlapping and reinforcing social, economic, ecological, cultural, and spiritual perspectives. Furthermore, we hope that this collection may increase awareness and strengthen understanding of rights-based perspectives, particularly in light of a growing recognition of people’s legitimate right not only to water, food, health, education, shelter, etc., but also to biodiversity as the foundation for their livelihoods and ultimately culture.

Dr. J. Marc Foggin
Dr. Sarah J. Halvorson
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • sustainable development
  • social-ecological systems
  • protected and conserved areas
  • livelihoods
  • inclusivity
  • multi-stakeholder governance
  • collaborative approaches
  • policy & decision-making
  • transdisciplinary research
  • case studies

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Communication
The Case of the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary and Camel Pastoralism in Rajasthan (India)
Sustainability 2021, 13(24), 13914; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132413914 - 16 Dec 2021
Viewed by 572
Abstract
The Indian forest management system introduced during colonial times has led to the progressive loss of the grazing rights of the country’s pastoralists, culminating in the abolishment of grazing fees and replacement with grazing fines in 2004. This scenario has had a negative [...] Read more.
The Indian forest management system introduced during colonial times has led to the progressive loss of the grazing rights of the country’s pastoralists, culminating in the abolishment of grazing fees and replacement with grazing fines in 2004. This scenario has had a negative knock-on effect on the conservation of many of the livestock breeds that pastoralists have developed in adaptation to local environments and that are the basis of the country’s food security. This paper illustrates the dilemma with the example of the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary (KWS) in Rajasthan that represents the traditional monsoon grazing area for local camel, sheep and goat pastoralists. Raika herders have engaged in a long-standing but losing legal battle with the state for their continued seasonal access to this area. This situation contributes to the rapid decline of the camel which is an iconic part of Rajasthan’s desert identity, a major attraction for tourists and was declared state animal in 2014. The aims of the forest department to conserve wild animals and those of pastoralists and camel conservationists could easily be integrated into a more equitable governance system as is endorsed by Aichi Target 11 of the CBD Strategic Plan 2011–2020. However, deeply engrained concepts about nature being separate from (agri-)culture, as well as unequal power structures, stand in the way. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inclusive Governance and Management of Protected and Conserved Areas)
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Article
Inclusive Governance and Biodiversity Conservation: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa
Sustainability 2021, 13(7), 3847; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13073847 - 31 Mar 2021
Viewed by 1592
Abstract
We examine the conservation effects attributable to changes in the size of community-governed protected areas (PAs) by adopting a generalized difference-in-difference (DID) design with a two-way fixed effect regression model and synthetic control methods. Panel data from the extraordinary datasets of the World [...] Read more.
We examine the conservation effects attributable to changes in the size of community-governed protected areas (PAs) by adopting a generalized difference-in-difference (DID) design with a two-way fixed effect regression model and synthetic control methods. Panel data from the extraordinary datasets of the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPAs) and the Red List of International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are used for 32 Sub-Saharan African countries in this study. Our generalized DID estimates show that countries with community-governed PAs have reduced the IUCN Red List threat level by 17% for mammals. We also find stronger evidence of the effect of community-governed PAs on the IUCN threat level using synthetic control method that allows us to match the “intervention countries” with those countries that exhibit similar pre-intervention threat level. Our results are robust on alternate specifications in which we exploit variations in the cumulative size of the designated PAs differentiated by the IUCN governance types. We also compare the effect of strictly state-governed PAs with community-governed PAs. Our findings provide evidence in support of recent qualitative studies that find positive responses of community participation towards common goods that carry potential economic incentives. This paper contributes to the idea that inclusive environmental policies and legislations yield environmental gains not at the cost of social exclusion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inclusive Governance and Management of Protected and Conserved Areas)
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Article
Perceptions of, and Motivations for, Land Trust Conservation in Northern Michigan: An Analysis of Key Informant Interviews
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 1609; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13041609 - 03 Feb 2021
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Abstract
Land trusts are common and expanding mechanisms for conservation, although their impacts have been little-studied. The objective of this paper is to understand the perceptions and motivations of stakeholders of small-scale land trust conservation. We used 33 key informant interviews to learn the [...] Read more.
Land trusts are common and expanding mechanisms for conservation, although their impacts have been little-studied. The objective of this paper is to understand the perceptions and motivations of stakeholders of small-scale land trust conservation. We used 33 key informant interviews to learn the motivations and opinions of stakeholders regarding the Little Traverse Conservancy (LTC) of northern Michigan, USA. The interviews were coded for relevant themes and interpreted alongside a literature review. The highest reported motivation for stakeholder involvement with LTC was the protection of nature and scenic beauty. Economic and social factors were also considered motivators; however, were not the key facilitators for conservation action for LTC stakeholders. Interviews emphasized that relationship and partnership formations are critical for facilitating successful land conservation. We conclude that land trust organizations can captivate the long-term support and participation of stakeholders through the consideration of local dynamics and building upon existing community relationships. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inclusive Governance and Management of Protected and Conserved Areas)
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Article
Regulatory Compliance of Community-Based Conservation Organizations: Empirical Evidence from Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9420; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229420 - 12 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 669
Abstract
Community-based conservation in the developing world generally puts more emphasis on voluntary commitments and compliance rather than enforcement of formal laws and regulations for the governance of protected areas. However, as with other forms of organizational management, once institutions are established, they are [...] Read more.
Community-based conservation in the developing world generally puts more emphasis on voluntary commitments and compliance rather than enforcement of formal laws and regulations for the governance of protected areas. However, as with other forms of organizational management, once institutions are established, they are required to comply with all relevant, legally binding regulations. Furthermore, it is broadly assumed that compliance with established regulations is critical for good governance. In this paper, we review these matters through an empirical study of Conservation Area Management Committees’ degree of compliance with regulations under Nepalese law, within the Annapurna Conservation Area—one of the best-known community-based protected areas worldwide—based on quantitative content analysis of the committees’ meeting minutes from 2008 to 2012. According to the established rules, two to four women and one to five minorities serve as committee members in each instance. On average, fewer members than expected attended meetings, and the number of decisions made per meeting showed a curvilinear relationship with the number of members present as well as their demographic diversity. Of the 13 committees selected for study, only two met the legal mandate of holding six regular meetings annually within two-month intervals. In all the other cases, non-compliance was noted for one to all five years of the committees’ terms. In general, compliance declined over the five-year terms, and some committees were significantly less-compliant than others. Although enforceable decisions were made within both compliant and non-compliant committees, several problems of non-compliance were identified that may affect conservation outcomes. We suggest several possible reasons for non-compliance and argue that these may be symptoms of institutional weaknesses. Organizations that fail to meet their commitments risk liability and may also lose the formal legal authority to govern. Regular monitoring is recommended to address compliance issues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inclusive Governance and Management of Protected and Conserved Areas)
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Review

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Review
Thinking Like a Mountain: Exploring the Potential of Relational Approaches for Transformative Nature Conservation
Sustainability 2021, 13(22), 12884; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132212884 - 21 Nov 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1394
Abstract
Building on a review of current mainstream paradigms of nature conservation, the essence of transformations necessary for effective and lasting change are presented—namely, convivial solutions (or ‘living with others’), in which relationality and an appreciation of our interdependencies are central, in contrast to [...] Read more.
Building on a review of current mainstream paradigms of nature conservation, the essence of transformations necessary for effective and lasting change are presented—namely, convivial solutions (or ‘living with others’), in which relationality and an appreciation of our interdependencies are central, in contrast to life-diminishing models of individualism and materialism/secularism. We offer several areas for improvement centred on regenerative solutions, moving beyond conventional environmental protection or biophysical restoration and focusing instead on critical multidimensional relationships—amongst people and between people and the rest of nature. We focus, in particular, on the potential of people’s values and worldviews to inform morality (guiding principles and/or beliefs about right and wrong) and ethics (societal rules defining acceptable behaviour), which alone can nurture the just transformations needed for nature conservation and sustainability at all scales. Finally, we systematize the potential of regenerative solutions against a backdrop of relational approaches in sustainability sciences. In so doing, we contribute to current endeavours of the conservation community for more inclusive conservation, expanding beyond economic valuations of nature and protected areas to include more holistic models of governance that are premised on relationally-oriented value systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inclusive Governance and Management of Protected and Conserved Areas)
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