Young JC, Jordan A, Searle KR, Butler A, Chapman DS, Simmons P & Watt AD (2013) Does stakeholder involvement really benefit biodiversity conservation?. Biological Conservation, 158, pp. 359-370. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2012.08.018
The establishment of protected areas, such as Natura 2000, is a common approach to curbing biodiversity loss. But many of these areas are owned or managed by private actors. Policies indicate that their involvement should be encouraged to ensure long term success. However, to date there have been no systematic evaluations of whether local actor involvement in the management of protected areas does in fact contribute to the conservation of biodiversity, which is the expressed policy goal. Research incorporating both qualitative and quantitative data was carried out in three case studies in Scotland where local actor input was required in the development and/or implementation of Natura 2000 management plans. No relationship was found between the characteristics of the process of stakeholder involvement and stakeholders’ perceptions of future biodiversity outcomes. Social outcomes of increased stakeholder involvement, such as increased trust, did however increase the perceived likelihood of positive future biodiversity outcomes. The findings indicate that efforts aimed at increasing stakeholder involvement in the management of protected areas need to consider making processes more independent, and acknowledge and address underlying biodiversity conflicts. The findings also emphasise the need to evaluate multi-level conservation efforts in terms of processes, social outcomes and biodiversity outcomes.
Biodiversity conflict; Natura 2000; Public participation; Scotland; Special Area of Conservation; Stakeholder involvement
Biological Conservation: Volume 158