Special Issue "Collaborative Management, Environmental Caretaking and Sustainable Livelihoods"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 May 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Mehana Vaughan
Guest Editor
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
Interests: community-based and collaborative management; watershed monitoring and abundance assessment; indigenous knowledge and ʻāina based education; indigenous resource management and resurgence; participatory research
Dr. Sibyl Diver
Guest Editor
Earth Systems Program, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
Interests: indigenous water governance; Pacific Rim salmon; environmental governance; environmental justice; community-based research methods; decolonizing methodologies; collaborative management
Dr. Mez Baker-Medard
Guest Editor
Environmental Studies Program, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT 05753, USA
Interests: human geography; conservation biology; environmental policy; and gender studies; marine fisheries management; feminist conservation; African studies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue endeavors to deepen the field of collaborative care and the governance of lands and waters. We are particularly interested in inquiries that expand understandings of reciprocal relationships and how collective responsibilities are enacted in natural resource management. This includes governance rooted in meaningful participatory processes devolving decision making to those most affected or connected to a given resource and the physical and spiritual sustenance it provides. 

Along with locally centered governance efforts, we are interested in how communities engage in increasingly complex cross-border polycentric efforts to influence the global and regional threats currently endangering local environments. Contributions may suggest interventions that advance environmental justice, including just transitions that support sustainable livelihoods and regenerative economies at local and transnational scales. We also seek research exploring creative means of collective action, and insights into new “commoning” practices. From communities rooted in place to transnational coalitions, this Special Issue will explore moments and movements of accountability and connection that stretch across space and time.

This Special Issue will include both informal community practices, and formal policy-based avenues that facilitate the resurgence and restoration of indigenous sovereignty. Research efforts focused on transmitting knowledge and responsibility across generations are welcome, along with stories of education for adaptation grounded in ancestral relationships between people and the places they inhabit. 

This Special Issue will further expand the current literature by highlighting ways in which community leadership, indigenous and allied partnerships, and new voices offer paths to reshape management agencies, institutions, and collaborative processes for the future. We will bring together both established and emerging scholars across a range of geographies, including Africa (Madagascar), the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, the Russian Far East, India, Australia, New Zealand and Hawaiʻi.

By bringing together this body of work, we aim to move beyond dominant frameworks of collaborative management rooted in natural resource conflicts over extractive use, and instead deepen understanding of collaborative care for human–environment relations. Linking theory and practice may yield new terminology based not on hierarchy and separation, but on reciprocity and connection.

Topics of interest include:

  • Collaborative management;
  • Polycentric governance;
  • Centering indigenous scholarship and voices;
  • Reciprocal relations;
  • Resurgence;
  • Commoning;
  • Collective land holding;
  • Social and environmental justice;
  • Transnational accountability;
  • Just transitions;
  • Feminist conservation;
  • Participatory action research;
  • Decolonizing methodologies;
  • Indigenous climate change adaptation;
  • Place and culturally based education;
  • Community building.

Dr. Mehana Vaughan
Dr. Sibyl Diver
Dr. Mez Baker-Medard
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 papers will be 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 1800 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.


  • collaborative management
  • adaptive governance
  • community-based natural resource management
  • indigenous knowledge and geographies
  • self-determination and sovereignty
  • environmental justice
  • human–nature relations
  • decolonizing methodologies
  • participatory action research
  • commoning
  • restoration
  • regeneration and collaborative care

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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