Group Analysis of Collaborative Conservation Partnerships
Vaughan, Ritchie Catherine
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Collaborative conservation partnership frequency is increasing in natural resources management; however, few successful examples exist in the United States. These groups seek to address land stewardship through cooperative, communicative, bottom-up approaches that engage local stakeholders. A better understanding of member characteristics and successful group characteristics may enhance collaborative conservation partnership outcomes. A survey was conducted to quantify partnership member characteristics and advertising mediums. Results were compared with the National Woodland Owner Survey. Collaborative conservation partnership members tend to be well-educated, middle-aged, upper-middle class individuals with large landholdings. They span previously identified family forest owner clusters but may be classified as earlier adopters by Diffusion of Innovations theory. Word-of-mouth is the most common way members learn about partnership opportunities. Qualitative data was analyzed to identify key features related to the ability to achieve group goals. Multi-disciplinary literature review points to the likely influences of leadership, task type, social capital, resource inputs, processes, and temporal change attributes on collaborative conservation partnership goal achievement. Key informant interviews demonstrate that resource and social capital inputs derive disproportionately from particular actors, partnerships need flexibility to adapt to changes in available resources, leaders establish partnership activity levels, social capital is the foundation of resource access, and groups are diverse in the ways they deal with context-specific tasks, resources, and processes. Overall, collaborative conservation partnerships demonstrate potential to positively influence land stewardship and technology transfer. Growth requires expanding membership, establishing partnerships as a legitimate conservation medium, and maintaining diverse groups tailored to local contexts.
- Masters Theses