Enhancing ecosystem management through social-ecological inventories: Lessons from Kristianstads Vattenrike, Sweden
Environmental policy increasingly emphasizes involvement of local users and land owners in ecosystem management, but conservation planning is still largely a bureaucratic-scientific endeavour of identifying biological values for protection.
Neither biological inventories nor stakeholder analyses, that tend to focus on conflicting interests, capture human resources in the landscape or the social structures and processes underlying biological conservation values.
Social-ecological inventories are therefore proposed during the preparation phase of conservation projects as a means to identify people with ecosystem knowledge that practise ecosystem management. The method presented here focuses on local steward groups acting outside official management plans.
In a socialecological inventory of a river basin of southern Sweden, local steward groups, their ecosystem management activities, motives and links to other actors involved in ecosystem management were identified through interviews, participatory observations and a review of documents and other written material.
Several hundred active local stewards were organized in 10 local steward groups that managed and monitored a range of ecosystem services at different spatial scales. Contributions of local stewards included on-site ecosystem management, long-term and detailed monitoring of species and ecosystem dynamics, local ecological knowledge, public support for ecosystem management and specialized networks.
Two conservation projects are used to illustrate how local steward groups came together in multilevel networks and collaborated around specific conservation issues. The projects have been linked to ecosystem management at the landscape level through a flexible municipality organization, the Ecomuseum Kristianstads Vattenrike (EKV). EKV has acted as a ‘bridging organization´, coordinating and connecting many of the local steward groups to organizations and institutions at other levels.
The process has been guided by social capital and shared visions for the whole landscape. The study shows that ecosystem management likely relies on multilevel collaboration and social-ecological inventories may help identify actors that are fundamental in such management systems. Social-ecological inventories should be employed in any attempt to develop and implement ecosystem management.
Research news | 2022-05-16
The effects of less, but better meat farming
Study captures the real-world experiences and effects of a farm’s journey towards sustainability
Research news | 2022-05-14
Our engagements during Stockholm +50
When and where to find us during the international environmental meeting in Stockholm 2-3 June
Research news | 2022-05-10
Centre joins SEK 45 million landscape programme
LAND-PATHS programme will engage with ordinary citizens to develop more sustainable and integrated decision-making processes
Research news | 2022-05-09
Three ways games can break sustainability deadlocks
Played by the right people, strategy games can break free from established norms and support more transparent democratic dialogues
Research news | 2022-05-04
What will it take to save the human ocean?
Seminar on ocean sustainability highlights importance of urgent and collaborative stewardship of the big blue
Research news | 2022-05-02
Why seafood certification is still not big in Japan
New study investigates the barriers and bridges to sustainability certifications on the Japanese seafood market