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Decision-Making for Rewilding: An Adaptive Governance Framework for Social-Ecological Complexity

Butler, JRA; Marzano, M; Pettorelli, N; Durant, SM; du Toit, JT; Young, JC; (2021) Decision-Making for Rewilding: An Adaptive Governance Framework for Social-Ecological Complexity. Frontiers in Conservation Science , 2 , Article 681545. 10.3389/fcosc.2021.681545. Green open access

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Abstract

Rewilding can be defined as the reorganisation or regeneration of wildness in an ecologically degraded landscape with minimal ongoing intervention. While proposals for rewilding are increasingly common, they are frequently controversial and divisive amongst stakeholders. If implemented, rewilding initiatives may alter the social-ecological systems within which they are situated and thus generate sudden and unforeseen outcomes. So far, however, much of the discourse on the planning and implementation of rewilding has focused on identifying and mitigating ecological risks. There has been little consideration of how rewilding could alter the human components of the social-ecological systems concerned, nor governance arrangements that can manage these dynamics. This paper addresses this gap by proposing a generic adaptive governance framework tailored to the characteristics of rewilding, based on principles of managing complex social-ecological systems. We integrate two complementary natural resource governance approaches that lend themselves to the contentious and unpredictable characteristics of rewilding. First, adaptive co-management builds stakeholder adaptive capacity through iterative knowledge generation, collaboration and power-sharing, and cross-scale learning networks. Second, social licence to operate establishes trust and transparency between project proponents and communities through new public-private partnerships. The proposed framework includes structural and process elements which incorporate a boundary organisation, a decision-into-practise social learning exercise for planning and design, and participatory evaluation. The latter assesses rewilding outcomes and pre-conditions for the continuation of adaptive governance and conservation conflict resolution.

Type: Article
Title: Decision-Making for Rewilding: An Adaptive Governance Framework for Social-Ecological Complexity
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fcosc.2021.681545
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3389/fcosc.2021.681545
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2021 Butler, Marzano, Pettorelli, Durant, du Toit and Young. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Keywords: adaptive capacity, adaptive co-management, conflict transformation, conservation conflict, livelihoods, knowledge, social licence to operate, partnership
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10130731
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