Environmental Management

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 677–687 | Cite as

Social Networks and Community-Based Natural Resource Management

  • T. Bruce Lauber
  • Daniel J. Decker
  • Barbara A. Knuth
Article

Abstract

We conducted case studies of three successful examples of collaborative, community-based natural resource conservation and development. Our purpose was to: (1) identify the functions served by interactions within the social networks of involved stakeholders; (2) describe key structural properties of these social networks; and (3) determine how these structural properties varied when the networks were serving different functions. The case studies relied on semi-structured, in-depth interviews of 8 to 11 key stakeholders at each site who had played a significant role in the collaborative projects. Interview questions focused on the roles played by key stakeholders and the functions of interactions between them. Interactions allowed the exchange of ideas, provided access to funding, and enabled some stakeholders to influence others. The exchange of ideas involved the largest number of stakeholders, the highest percentage of local stakeholders, and the highest density of interactions. Our findings demonstrated the value of tailoring strategies for involving stakeholders to meet different needs during a collaborative, community-based natural resource management project. Widespread involvement of local stakeholders may be most appropriate when ideas for a project are being developed. During efforts to exert influence to secure project approvals or funding, however, involving specific individuals with political connections or influence on possible sources of funds may be critical. Our findings are consistent with past work that has postulated that social networks may require specific characteristics to meet different needs in community-based environmental management.

Keywords

Capacity Collaboration Community-based management Social networks 

References

  1. Ahuja G (2000) Collaboration networks, structural holes, and innovation: a longitudinal study. Administrative Science Quarterly 45:425–455CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bodin O, Crona B, Ernstson H (2006) Social networks in natural resource management: what is there to learn from a structural perspective? Ecology and Society 11:8Google Scholar
  3. Borgatti SP, Foster PC (2003) The network paradigm in organizational research: a review and typology. Journal of Management 29:991–1013Google Scholar
  4. Busenberg GJ (2000) Resources, political support, and citizen participation in environmental policy: a reexamination of conventional wisdom. Society and Natural Resources 13:579–587CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cross R, Parker A, Prusak L, Borgatti SP (2001) Knowing what we know: supporting knowledge creation and sharing in social networks. Organizational Dynamics 30:100–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Curtis A (1998) Agency-community partnership in landcare: lessons for state-sponsored citizen resource management. Environmental Management 22:563–574CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Curtis A, De Lacy T (1996) Landcare in Australia: does it make a difference? Journal of Environmental Management 46:119–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Curtis A, Lockwood M (2000) Landcare and catchment management in Australia: lessons for state-sponsored community participation. Society and Natural Resources 13:61–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Curtis A, Shindler B, Wright A (2002) Sustaining local watershed initiatives: lessons from Landcare and watershed councils. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 38:1207–1216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Curtis A, Van Nouhuys M, Robinson W, Mackay J (2000) Exploring landcare effectiveness using organisational theory. Australian Geographer 31:349–366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gray B (1985) Conditions facilitating interorganizational collaboration. Human Relations 38:911–936CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gray B (1989) Collaborating: finding common ground for multiparty problems. Jossey-Bass, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  13. Gulati R, Gargiulo M (1999) Where do interorganizational networks come from? American Journal of Sociology 104:1439–1493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hanneman RA, Riddle M (2005) Introduction to social network methods. University of California, Riverside, RiversideGoogle Scholar
  15. Hansen MT (1999) The search-transfer problem: the role of weak ties in sharing knowledge across organization subunits. Administrative Science Quarterly 44:82–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hansen MT (2002) Knowledge networks: explaining effective knowledge sharing in multiunit companies. Organization Science 13:232–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Katon BM, Pomeroy RS, Garces LR, Salamanca AM (1999) Fisheries management of San Salvador Island, Philippines: a shared responsibility. Society and Natural Resources 12:777–795CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Klyza CM, Trombulak SC (eds) (1994) The future of the Northern forest. University Press of New England, HanoverGoogle Scholar
  19. Lauber TB, Brown TL (2006) Learning by doing: policy learning in community-based deer management. Society and Natural Resources 19:411–428CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Leach WD, Pelkey NW (2001) Making watershed partnerships work: a review of the empirical literature. Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management 27:378–385CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Leach WD, Pelkey NW, Sabatier PA (2002) Stakeholder partnerships as collaborative policymaking: evaluation criteria applied to watershed management in California and Washington. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 21:645–670CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Leong KM, Decker DJ, Lauber TB, Raik DB, Siemer WF. Overcoming jurisdictional boundaries through stakeholder engagement and collaborative governance: lessons learned from white-tailed deer management inthe U.S. In: Andersson K, Eklund E, Lehtola M, Salmi P (eds) Beyond the rural-urban divide: comparative perspectives on the differentiated countryside and its regulation. Elsevier Press (in press)Google Scholar
  23. Lin N (1999) Building a network theory of social capital. Connections 22:28–52Google Scholar
  24. Lorange P, Roos J (1991) Why some strategic alliances succeed and other fail. The Journal of Business Strategy 12:25–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Michaels S, Mason RJ, Solecki WD (2001) Participatory research on collaborative environmental management: results from the Adirondack Park. Society and Natural Resources 14:251–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Miles MB, Huberman AM (1994) Qualitative data analysis, 2nd edn. Sage Publications, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  27. Mitchell RK, Agle BR, Wood DJ (1997) Toward a theory of stakeholder and salience: defining the prinicple of who and what really counts. Academy of Management Review 22:853–886CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Newman L, Dale A (2005) Network structure, diversity, and proactive resilience building: a response to Tompkins and Adger. Ecology and Society 10:8Google Scholar
  29. Pomeroy C, Beck J (1999) An experiment in fishery co-management: evidence from Big Creek. Society and Natural Resources 12:719–739CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Powell WW, Koput KW, Smith-Doerr L (1996) Interorganizational collaboration and the locus of innovation: networks of learning in biotechnology. Administrative Science Quarterly 41:116–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Raik DB, Lauber TB, Decker DJ, Brown TL (2005) Managing community controversy in suburban wildlife management: adopting practices that address value differences. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 10:109–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Selin SW, Chavez D (1995) Developing a collaborative model for environmental planning and management. Environmental Management 19:189–195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Sobels J, Curtis A, Lockie S (2001) The role of Landcare group networks in rural Australia: exploring the contribution of social capital. Journal of Rural Studies 17:265–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Stake RE (1995) The art of case study research. Sage Publications, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  35. Tucker CM (2004) Community institutions and forest management in Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Reserve. Society and Natural Resources 17:569–587CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Turner MD (1999) Conflict, environmental change, and social institutions in dryland Africa: limitations of the community resource management approach. Society and Natural Resources 12:643–657CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wasserman S, Faust K (1994) Soical network analysis: methods and applications. Cambridge University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  38. Wondolleck JM, Yaffee SL (2000) Making collaboration work: lessons from innovation in natural resource management. Island Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  39. Zanetell BA, Knuth BA (2002) Knowledge partnerships: rapid rural appraisal’s role in catalyzing community-based management in Venezuela. Society and Natural Resources 15:805–825CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Bruce Lauber
    • 1
  • Daniel J. Decker
    • 2
  • Barbara A. Knuth
    • 3
  1. 1.Human Dimensions Research Unit, Department of Natural ResourcesCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.College of Agriculture and Life SciencesCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  3. 3.College of Agriculture and Life SciencesCornell UniversityIthacaNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations