11 19 05 Session2 Robertson

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From Conservation in Community to Public Ecology in Action: 

From Conservation in Community to Public Ecology in Action Fifth National CBCRC Conference Sedona, Arizona USA November 19, 2005 David P. Robertson, PhD davidrobertson@vt.edu Virginia Tech

case studies: 

case studies Chicago Wilderness Chesapeake Bay Watershed Southern Appalachian Ecoregion Greater Lynchburg Environmental Network Blue Ridge Forest Cooperative Appalachian LandCare Highlands Action Program


methods literature review archival research and document analysis interviews and focus groups participant-observation and fieldwork peer review iterative process: data collection, analysis, and interpretation


products website book forums


community identity-based (spiritual, racial, class) place-based (at multiple scales) activity-based (cyclists, birders, etc) issue-based (place, policy, program) virtual/cyber-based (place, issue, identity) social institutions, common interests community = relationships = networks

collaboration : 

collaboration Specific types of community engage in specific activities: “stakeholding communities, such as businesses and NGOs, engaged at a relatively strategic level; specialist communities, such as farmers, often collaborating on projects related to environment and tourism; general communities-of-place, especially when pursuing a project of visible local relevance; Interest-driven communities of motivated individuals who stimulate action on issues such as sustainable food or timber production; lay interests may occasionally take the lead either through membership organizations of spontaneous local action, but more commonly are enrolled through externally facilitated co-management or partnership initiatives” Paul Selman (2004:381) collective action, governance, shared decision making


dimensions professional---------------------expertise---------------------participatory public----------------------------ownership----------------------------private urban---------------------------development-----------------------------rural local-----------------------------spatial scale---------------------------global short---------------------------temporal scale----------------------------long east-----------------------------geopolitical*------------------------------west *geopolitical civic environmentalism collaborative natural resource management watershed councils grassroots ecosystem management cooperatives (forestry, cattle, etc.) decentralized, multi-level governance (top-down, bottom-up, middle-out)

questions & answers: 

questions & answers what are the benefits? there are a range of possible benefits: environmental economic social benefits are case specific what is success? there are different ways to measure success: agreement or implementation goals or outcomes what or whom success is case specific success = benefits


benefits whose desired benefits? individuals communities organizations publics (local to global) which benefits? natural & cultural heritage environmental quality & public health psychological & emotional spiritual & religious education & empowerment civic & democratic (e.g., community) economic & investment who actually benefits? intragenerational intergenerational geographic procedural interspecies

which benefits are most important to your project?: 

which benefits are most important to your project? a range of potential benefits exist different projects produce different benefits successful projects maximize desirable benefits

developing a theory: 

developing a theory describe (observe what is) the range of potential benefits and the conditions and factors that give rise to specific benefits in specific situations predict (anticipate what could be) the benefits that can and will be produced in specific situations when certain conditions and factors are present prescribe (recommend what should be) best practices for institutional designs and management actions to maximize desired benefits *applicable to individual projects, types of projects, and movement performance  outcomes

performance factors (keys to success/failure): 

performance factors (keys to success/failure) internal factors intragroup & intergroup vision and leadership communication knowledge and info trust/respect transparency accountability timing and sequencing stakeholder diversity preferences information stakes funding and resources environmental contextual factors environmental cultural economic scientific legal political historical James River Railcar Removal Collaboration 2005


Reproduced from Machlis et al. (1997)

Conservation in Community or Public Ecology in Action?: 

Conservation in Community or Public Ecology in Action? Each year millions of people participate in thousands of public ecology projects worldwide. PublicEcology.org is a campaign to help unify these many public ecology projects and practitioners. By 2020, we envision a thriving international community of public ecologists with a well-organized network of educational, employment, and volunteer opportunities worldwide. Please visit our website at www.PublicEcology.org. The Public Ecology Project (PEP) at Virginia Tech seeks to advance the art and science of public ecology as a distinctive approach to environmental governance and sustainable development in the 21st century.


bibliography Conley, A., and M. A. Moote. 2003. Evaluating collaborative natural resource management. Society and Natural Resources 16:371-386. Heikkila, T., and A. K. Gerlak. 2005. The formation of large-scale collaborative resource management institutions: clarifying the roles of stakeholders, science, and institutions. The Policy Studies Journal 33(4):583-612. Hibbard, M., and S. Lurie. 2005.Understanding the community economic and social impacts of Oregon’s watershed councils. IPRI Paper 05-001, University of Oregon. [Online] URL: http://www.oregonwatersheds.org/publications/ipristudy/view Koontz, T. M. 2005. We finished the plan, so now what? Impacts of collaborative stakeholders participation on land use policy. The Policy Studies Journal 33(3):459-481. Machlis, G. E., et al. 1997. The human ecosystem, Part I: The human ecosystem as an organizing concept in ecosystem management. Society and Natural Resources 10:347-367. Murray, G. D. 2005. Multifaceted measures of success in two Mexican marine protected areas. Society and Natural Resources 18:889-905. Selman, P. 2004. Community participation in the planning and management of cultural landscapes. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 47(3):365-392.

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