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Learning to bridge conservation and development: A case study of the Environmental Monitors Programme in Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Reserve
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 40 credits / 60 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

We live in a world that faces several social and environmental problems and achieving sustainable development in contexts where it is necessary to alleviate poverty without eroding the capacity of the ecosystems to support future generations is challenging. Therefore, fostering sustainable development requires enabling both society and environment to cope with disturbances, adapt to and shape change (resilience).

Literature suggests that adaptive co-management practices are appropriate for building resilience and fostering sustainable development. Additionally, studies have highlighted the role of bridging organizations in coordinating and facilitating adaptive co-management. However, adaptive co-management has not been studied in poverty contexts.

This thesis aims to understand what the main tasks of bridging organizations are, and how they facilitate and stimulate adaptive co-management in poverty contexts and their role in nurturing sustainability.

The Environmental Monitors Programme of the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Reserve was chosen as a case-study. Biosphere reserves are considered learning sites for sustainable development. The programme was studied through the lenses of a bridging organization.

Semi-structured interviews and participatory observation with stakeholders identified: 1) the importance of existing networks and collaborations; 2) monitoring contribution to the identification of social and environmental issues, experimentation contribution to the implementation of sustainable harvesting practices; 3) environmental education combined with social learning lead to community empowerment and adaptive responses that e.g. address erosion; 4) environmental monitors have a crucial role in linking organizations and communities; 5) challenges related to low income settings include communities’ basic needs.

This study illustrates the need to address both social and ecological problems in a concerted manner, by capacitating and empowering communities while conserving the environment. Additionally, points out the need of studying alternative co-management strategies that give focus on different priorities regarding stakeholders’ interests and the influence of power in decision-making in poverty contexts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
adaptive co-management, biosphere reserve, bridging organizations, resilience, social-ecological systems, sustainable development
National Category
Other Natural Sciences Environmental Sciences Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-131843OAI: diva2:945157
Available from: 2016-06-30 Created: 2016-06-30 Last updated: 2016-06-30Bibliographically approved

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Stockholm Resilience Centre
Other Natural SciencesEnvironmental SciencesSocial Sciences Interdisciplinary

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