Some members of The Conservation Planning Group recently published a couple of papers in Biological Conservation and Conservation Letters on incorporating the social dimensions of the planning region into conservation planning.

You can download the papers below, or contact Morena Mills for a pdf of the articles:


Issue Conservation Letters Conservation Letters Volume 6, Issue 6, pages 418–429, November/December 2013

Mills, M., Pressey, R. L., Ban, N. C., Foale, S., Aswani, S. and Knight, A. T. (2013), Understanding Characteristics that Define the Feasibility of Conservation Actions in a Common Pool Marine Resource Governance System. Conservation Letters, 6: 418–429.

Abstract: Effective conservation requires people to make choices about how they interact with the environment. Social characteristics influence the likelihood of establishing conservation actions with strong compliance (hereafter “feasibility”), but are rarely considered in conservation planning. Our study makes two contributions to understand feasibility. First, we explicitly test the associations between social characteristics and the presence and form of resource management. Second, we compare the ability of different types of data to elucidate feasibility. We use Ostrom’s (2007) thinking on social–ecological systems and literature on resource management in Melanesia to create a context-specific framework to identify social characteristics that influence feasibility for conservation management. We then apply this framework and test for associations between the presence and form of management on one hand and social characteristics on the other, using data collected at different resolutions. We found that conservation feasibility was associated with characteristics of the governance system, users, and the social, economic, and political setting. Villages with different forms of management were more similar to each other socially than to villages without management. Social data collected at the resolution of households accounted for over double the variation in the form and presence of management compared to data at the resolution of villages. Our methods can be adapted to conservation planning initiatives in other socioeconomic settings.


Biological Conservation

Morena Mills, Jorge G. Álvarez-Romero, Ken Vance-Borland, Philippa Cohen, Robert L. Pressey, Angela M. Guerrero, Henrik Ernstson (2014) Linking regional planning and local action: Towards using social network analysis in systematic conservation planning. Biological Conservation, 169: 6–13.

Abstract: Social networks play an important role in facilitating effective and sustained connections between people responsible for regional conservation plans and those responsible for local conservation actions. Yet, few studies have utilized social network analysis in systematic conservation planning initiatives; this, in spite of social network analysis being developed as a structural and relational approach to describe and analyze the characteristics of patterns of relationships that make collaborative efforts more or less effective at solving natural resource management problems. Systematic conservation planning provides a framework for allocating actions in time and space to promote the conservation of biodiversity. Our study discusses three potential contributions of social network analysis to systematic conservation planning: identifying stakeholders and their roles in social networks, and characterizing relationships between them; designing and facilitating strategic networking to strengthen linkages between local and regional conservation initiatives; and prioritizing conservation actions using measures of social connectivity alongside ecological data. We propose that social network analysis has the potential to be a valuable tool to support decision making in conservation planning. We identify challenges and future research questions to be addressed to allow the integration of social network analysis into conservation planning processes.


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