Tuesday 6
The Social-ecological systems meta-analysis database (SESMAD) project
Michael Cox
› 11:35 - 12:30 (55min)
› JOFFRE 1-5
Transboundary Protected Areas and the Study of Large-Scale Social-Ecological Systems
Michael Schoon  1, 2@  
1 : Arizona State University
2 : School of Sustainability

Governance of protected areas confronts two key issues: managing complex bundles of goods and services and trading-off services due to differing goals by actors. Transboundary parks, or protected areas that span international borders, magnify these issues even more. A major governance challenge in conservation projects is that, like other commons dilemmas, the types of goods and services provided by transboundary protected areas (TBPAs) go far beyond the provision of a single good or service. Unlike trying to manage a forest for the harvest of a mono-culture, managing a protected area is more like managing a forest for multiple types of timber, non-timber forest products, the provision of various ecosystem services like erosion control and water filtration, as well as maintaining cultural benefits. The international nature of TBPAs amplifies these challenges by adding an additional level of governance, which brings with it the need for negotiation, consensus decision-making, and the inherent time lags involved in that.

In this way, TBPAs can be viewed as social-ecological systems comprised of complex bundles of goods and services. As a result, their governance presents interesting challenges. Governance arrangements that work well with one resource type, such as the sustainable harvesting of medicinal plants that share many traits with typical private goods, may struggle with another, like biodiversity conservation that can be viewed as a public good. This is further compounded because of the multiple actors advocating transboundary conservation. Many advocates of transboundary parks share goals of biodiversity conservation, economic development, and the promotion of peace, yet, when looking at the details, different actor groups favor different goal prioritizations. These differences have profound implications for park governance. In short, there are often trade-offs in the provisioning of one set of desired goods and services at the expense of others, and the type of governance regime most effective at managing one type of goods (e.g. markets for private goods), may prove disastrous for another set of goods and services.

This research project draws on the Social-Ecological Systems Meta-Analysis Database as a means of synthetically analyzing several terrestrial cases of transboundary protected areas. In doing so, we selected several large (>10,000km2) transboundary parks from the Global Inventory of TBPAs maintained by the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre. We then coded these cases across 200 variables with a goal of gaining insight into the complexities discussed above with an emphasis on the governance of multiple, often competing, goods and services.

This presentation will be part of the session entitled “The Social-ecological systems meta-analysis database (SESMAD) project.”


Online user: 1 RSS Feed