Browsing by Author "Spierenburg, Marja"
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- ItemKey features for more successful place-based sustainability research on social-ecological systems : a Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) perspective(Resilience Alliance, 2017) Balvanera, Patricia; Daw, Tim M.; Gardner, Toby A.; Martin-Lopez, Berta; Norstrom, Albert V.; Speranza, Chinwe Ifejika; Spierenburg, Marja; Bennett, Elena M.; Farfan, Michelle; Hamann, Maike; Kittinger, John N.; Luthe, Tobias; Maass, Manuel; Peterson, Garry D.; Perez-Verdin, GustavoThe emerging discipline of sustainability science is focused explicitly on the dynamic interactions between nature and society and is committed to research that spans multiple scales and can support transitions toward greater sustainability. Because a growing body of place-based social-ecological sustainability research (PBSESR) has emerged in recent decades, there is a growing need to understand better how to maximize the effectiveness of this work. The Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) provides a unique opportunity for synthesizing insights gained from this research community on key features that may contribute to the relative success of PBSESR. We surveyed the leaders of PECS-affiliated projects using a combination of open, closed, and semistructured questions to identify which features of a research project are perceived to contribute to successful research design and implementation. We assessed six types of research features: problem orientation, research team, and contextual, conceptual, methodological, and evaluative features. We examined the desirable and undesirable aspects of each feature, the enabling factors and obstacles associated with project implementation, and asked respondents to assess the performance of their own projects in relation to these features. Responses were obtained from 25 projects working in 42 social-ecological study cases within 25 countries. Factors that contribute to the overall success of PBSESR included: explicitly addressing integrated social-ecological systems; a focus on solution- and transformation-oriented research; adaptation of studies to their local context; trusted, long-term, and frequent engagement with stakeholders and partners; and an early definition of the purpose and scope of research. Factors that hindered the success of PBSESR included: the complexities inherent to social-ecological systems, the imposition of particular epistemologies and methods on the wider research group, the need for long periods of time to initiate and conduct this kind of research, and power asymmetries both within the research team and among stakeholders. In the self-assessment exercise, performance relating to team and context-related features was ranked higher than performance relating to methodological, evaluation, and problem orientation features. We discuss how these insights are relevant for balancing place-based and global perspectives in sustainability science, fostering more rapid progress toward inter- and transdisciplinary integration, redefining and measuring the success of PBSESR, and facing the challenges of academic and research funding institutions. These results highlight the valuable opportunity that the PECS community provides in helping build a community of practice for PBSESR.
- ItemPower and politics in stakeholder engagement : farm dweller (in)visibility and conversions to game farming in South Africa(Resilience Alliance, 2018) Brandt, Femke; Josefsson, Jenny; Spierenburg, MarjaHere, we discuss tensions inherent in multistakeholder approaches addressing conflicts over natural resources as well as the involvement of stakeholders in research. Our discussion is built on knowledge generated by extensive research on the impacts of private farm conversions to game farms in South Africa, where significant increases in farm conversions have been observed since the 1990s. The studies had a particular focus on the consequences for farm dwellers, one of the most marginalized groups in the South African countryside. The research findings challenge the dominant narrative that game farming offers a win-win situation for nature conservation and rural development. Based on data from the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces, we extended the narrow technical and economic framing of the narrative to include the socio-political meanings of the conversions. We reflect on a series of multistakeholder workshops that we organized, partly as a requirement of the funding agency. The workshop aims were to disseminate our research findings among the stakeholder groups and explore ways to mitigate the negative impacts of conversions. We discuss how we organized the engagement process in ways that sought to address the power differences between game farmers, the State, and farm dwellers. The main challenge appeared to be that farm dwellers were not recognized as stakeholders. This “invisibility” has multiple reasons, in particular, the historical and current trajectories of land dispossession. It is also linked to specific institutional and personal relations in the two provinces, resulting in different uses of the workshop spaces. By considering the complexities of stakeholder relations in the farm conversion context, we gained a deeper understanding of the politics of land and belonging in the still unequal post-apartheid rural landscape. Based on experiences from the research as well as the workshops, we take a critical stance regarding mainstream notions of stakeholder engagement and resilience building. We argue that if we fail to consider power relations and politics explicitly in these processes, we risk neglecting important conflicts and reproducing the invisibility of marginalized stakeholders.
- ItemProgramme on Ecosystem Change and Society : knowledge for sustainable stewardship of social-ecological systems(Resilience Alliance, 2017) Norstrom, Albert V.; Balvanera, Patricia; Spierenburg, Marja; Bouamrane, MeriemNo abstract available
- ItemStakeholder engagement and biodiversity conservation challenges in social-ecological systems : some insights from biosphere reserves in western Africa and France(Resilience Alliance, 2016) Bouamrane, Meriem; Spierenburg, Marja; Agrawal, Arun; Boureima, Amadou; Cormier-Salem, Marie-Christine; Etienne, Michel; Le Page, Christophe; Levrel, Harold; Mathevet, RaphaelBiosphere reserves are an example of social-ecological systems that combine biodiversity conservation and socioeconomic development with knowledge generation and dissemination (both scientific and local). We review lessons learned from case studies biosphere reserves in western African and France, highlighting the importance of early stakeholder engagement to build knowledge for achieving sustainable development. We discuss the evolution of the concept of biosphere reserves and its application over time in different socioeconomic and cultural settings. The diversity of stakeholders and their different needs and perceptions about nature conservation complicate implementation processes, sometimes resulting in conflicts about the objectives and zonation of biosphere reserves. Dialogue among the different stakeholders must start at an early planning phase and be based on the principle of social and ecological solidarity. Dialogue must then be pursued, formalized, ritualized, and translated both in terms of biosphere reserve management and in terms of political support. Tools and methods exist that can facilitate such dialogue and colearning.