Abstract Detail


Virnig, Anne L. S.  [1].

Moving beyond blueprint solutions: Evaluating conservation success across diverse Equator Initiative cases studies.

Despite the continued polarization of blueprint solutions for either ‘people-free’ or ‘people-centered’ conservation, communities and researchers around the world are showing that there is no universal approach to conservation. In an era of resource extraction and exploitation, where vested interests span from local to international levels and across sectors of civil society, government, and industry, biodiversity conservation has been defined as a ‘multilevel commons’ problem. To develop enduring approaches to conservation in the current environment, numerous scholars argue for an adaptive co-management approach that involves the sharing of power between government and local resource users in a dynamic, self-organized process of learning by doing. But what does this look like in practice? With a focus on local initiatives that promote conservation in the face of threats from extractive industries, this paper addresses the question: what factors enable community mobilization towards adaptive co-management of biodiversity? To answer this question, this paper critically analyzes five conservation-development projects from the Equator Initiative of the United Nations Development Programme. The Equator Initiative uses a rigorous peer-reviewed process to identify outstanding local community and indigenous peoples initiatives working to meet development challenges through the conservation and sustainable use of nature. The Equator Initiative cases thus provide a rich source of data to evaluate the factors that contribute to successful local initiatives towards conservation and development. Across all five cases, the paper also considers the extent to which the initiatives embrace biocultural conservation, or the integrated promotion of cultural and biodiversity conservation. The role of boundary organizations – which serve to bridge between local, scientific, and policy spheres – and the importance of an enabling international policy environment are also considered.

Related Links:
Equator Initiative Home Page
Gavin, MC et al. 2015. Defining biocultural conservation. Trends Ecol Evol.
Berkes, F. 2009. Evolution of co-management: Role of knowledge generation, bridging organizations and social learning. J Environ Manage.
Berkes, F. 2007. Community-based conservation in a globalized world. PNAS.
Berkes, F & CS Seixas. 2004. Lessons from community self-organization and cross-scale linkages in four equator initiative projects. University of Manitoba.

1 - United Nations Development Programme, Equator Initiative, 304 East 45th Street, 6th Floor, New York , NY, 10017, USA

biocultural conservation
adaptive co-management
multilevel commons
boundary organizations

Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Abstract ID:72
Candidate for Awards:None