22 enero 2012

Estudio de estrategias para una buena política de conservación

Successful conservation policy needs monitoring and knowledge

New research has explored how well different governance systems can achieve desirable conservation outcomes. Results confirmed the importance of adaptive management, which relies on regular monitoring to enable ‘learning through doing’ to refine actions, and suggested that leadership using expert knowledge was also significant in successful governance.

With increasing policy concern about the degradation of ecosystems and loss of biodiversity, there have been a large number of different approaches to reduce the negative effects of human activity on nature. These approaches can vary widely, from community management regimes to state-run protected areas, and also involve a range of economic or social instruments, such as subsidies and taxes, as well as regulatory tools, such as restrictions on access or use. However, to date, there has been no systematic comparison of the effectiveness of these different approaches.

The study, conducted under the EU GEM-CON-BIO1 and TESS projects2, analysed 26 local/subnational and eight international conservation initiatives for three important outcomes: enhancing the delivery of ecosystem services, ensuring sustainable use of natural resources and maintaining biodiversity. The three outcomes were scored using expert judgement, whilst the governance system was described using data from questionnaires collecting ecological, economic and social information. Five main indicators were identified to describe the governance system: adaptive management; knowledge leadership, i.e. the frequency of consultation with a higher authority; use of regulatory tools; state/private management and the management priorities in terms of economic, social or ecological goals.

For all three conservation outcomes, adaptive management and knowledge leadership appeared to be important to success. The incorporation of monitoring and feedback into management practices has been proposed as a powerful tool by international agreements, as has the need to base policy on sound expert knowledge. The study supports the use of both these governance strategies in conservation policy. In comparison, state/private responsibility did not appear to be significant to conservation outcomes. This could be because its influence could be affected by factors that were not considered in the study, such as the duration of the conservation management.

Regulatory tools had a negative relationship with the provision of ecosystem services but related positively to conservation of biodiversity. This suggests that, in areas where conservation is to be promoted through ecosystem services, caution needs to be taken in the use of regulations. It also confirms the importance of using a dual approach that combines both protection using regulation for biodiversity and encouragement of the use of ecosystem services with economic incentives.

More generally, the finding that the three conservation outcomes were associated with different governance strategies implies that it is difficult to find one strategy that will successfully achieve all desirable outcomes. This means that often a joint or compromise set of strategies may be necessary.

The researchers highlight the limitations of a small sample, especially in terms of the number of international initiatives, and recommend implementing larger scale studies of different governance systems across countries, with refined assessments of socio-economic factors and environmental variables. Such work could help provide an evidence-base to establish governance strategies to reduce negative human effects on nature.
  1. GEM-CON-BIO (Governance and ecosystems management for the conservation of biodiversity) was supported by the European Commission under the Sixth Framework Programme. See: www.gemconbio.eu
  2. TESS (Transactional environmental Support System) is supported by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme. See: www.tess-project.eu
Source: Kenward, R.E., Whittingham, M.J., Arampatzis, S. et al. (2011) Identifying governance strategies that effectively support ecosystem services, resource sustainability, and biodiversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 108(13):5308-5312.
Contact: reke@ceh.ac.uk
Theme(s): Biodiversity, Sustainable development and policy analysis

fuente: Science for Environment Policy (European Union)

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