Local participation in cultural landscape maintenance: Lessons from Sweden

Stenseke, M. 2009. Local participation in cultural landscape maintenance: Lessons from Sweden. Land Use Policy 26:214-223

Land management strategies historically have been from the “top-down”; however, current discussion in conservation argues that the involvement of local people in land management is essential to its success. Stenseke (2009) outlines some prerequisites for incorporating local participation into management strategies as well as some caveats. She outlines six factors which should be addressed for local involvement to be successful: 1) Institutional framework, 2) Stakeholders & participants, 3) Organization & process, 4) Communication, 5) Knowledge & learning, 6) Contextual factors. She addresses this topic by evaluating 2 success stories of local participation in land management: farmers in southern Öland & conservationists and ranchers in Mälarhagar. Her discussion for the success of the these projects however was revolved around the topics of 1) trust and respect, 2) common understanding, 3) local influence, 4) market potential and 5) money and time. This disconnect made it difficult to follow which factors she was advocating as important for the successful involvement of the local community. Conversely, it was refreshing that she additionally acknowledged those factors that were hurdles for the groups to overcome and generalized strategies that could be used to avoid them in future programs. The author very much emphasizes that there is no cookie-cutter format to implementing a collaborative management program, because politics will always be very site specific. I found this point rather interesting, given that in restoration ecology practitioners are trying to steer away from the site specific management.

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