Scalar capital as ingredient of success in conservation governance: evidence from Melanesia

Cheok, Jessica, Weeks, Rebecca, Morrison, Tiffany H., and Pressey, Robert L. (2020) Scalar capital as ingredient of success in conservation governance: evidence from Melanesia. Global Environmental Change, 62. 102057.

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Problems of scale abound in the governance of complex social-ecological systems. Conservation governance, for example, typically occurs at a single scale, but needs to inform governance and action at other scales to be truly effective at achieving social and ecological outcomes. This process is conventionally conceived as unidirectional - either scaling down or scaling up - in the way it both exploits and creates the natural, social, human, institutional, and financial resources and benefits that are collectively known as conservation 'capital'. Here we analyse multiscale conservation governance and the different types of capital that impede or facilitate its effectiveness. Comparative analysis of conservation planning in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, through in-depth document review, key informant interview, and participant observation, reveals limited evidence of unidirectional processes. Instead, we observe multidirectional scaling pathways, cultivated by the following six scale-explicit characteristics of effective conservation governance: 1) multiscale understanding, 2) scale jumping, 3) scaled leadership characteristics, 4) scaled stakeholder engagement, 5) scaled policy frameworks, and 6) scaled institutional settings. While the latter four are familiar concepts, though not always recognised as explicitly scalar, we know little about the first two attributes of conservation governance. Based on this novelty and relevance, we propose a new form of capital - 'scalar capital' - to complement natural, social, human, institutional, and financial capitals as both input and outcome of effective conservation governance. We find that scalar capital facilitates flows of different resources (data, conservation objectives, practitioner experience, institutional support, and funding) in multiple directions. Critically, we present empirical evidence that conservation governance can foster scalar capital to improve outcomes across multiple scales.

Item ID: 63496
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1872-9495
Keywords: Multiscale governance, Scalar capital, Environmental governance, Social-ecological systems, Conservation planning
Copyright Information: © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2020 07:40
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 20%
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4404 Development studies > 440499 Development studies not elsewhere classified @ 40%
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4407 Policy and administration > 440704 Environment policy @ 40%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960701 Coastal and Marine Management Policy @ 50%
94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9402 Government and Politics > 940299 Government and Politics not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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