Human Ecology

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 357–365 | Cite as

The Landscape of Leadership in Environmental Governance: a Case Study from Solomon Islands

  • Louisa S. Evans
  • Philippa J. Cohen
  • Peter Case
  • Christina C. Hicks
  • Murray Prideaux
  • David J. Mills


Sustainability science suggests a core set of factors that foster significant change in governance, with leaders and entrepreneurs often identified as the main instigators. Discussions of leadership in governance transformations often focus on key charismatic people, underplaying contestation and the complex landscape of leadership. We present an empirical study that uses a participatory network mapping approach to provide a broader examination of leadership in integrated conservation and development. We use the Coral Triangle Initiative in Solomon Islands as an example of potential transformation in environmental governance across multiple objectives. Our analysis shows that actants, other than key individuals, enact leadership. We illustrate that a different suite of actants are providing leadership for each of the three Coral Triangle Initiative objectives. Actants can enact leadership by positively and negatively influencing different goals to varying extents. Our study illustrates the potential of broader and more nuanced understandings of leadership in environmental governance.


Coastal and marine governance Biodiversity Fisheries Food security Conservation leadership Climate change Solomon Islands 



This work was funded by a “Collaboration Across Borders” grant from James Cook University. We are grateful to the Solomon Islands NCC for their participation in this study. We would also like to thank Rebecca Weeks and Vera Horigue for feedback on our original methodology. PJC and DJM are grateful for support from an Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research grant (FIS/2012/074) and the CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems.

Compliance with Ethical Standards


This study was funded by a “Collaboration Across Borders” grant from James Cook University and PJC and DJM are grateful for support from an Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research grant (FIS/2012/074).

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Louisa S. Evans
    • 1
    • 2
  • Philippa J. Cohen
    • 2
    • 3
  • Peter Case
    • 4
    • 5
  • Christina C. Hicks
    • 2
    • 6
  • Murray Prideaux
    • 5
  • David J. Mills
    • 2
    • 7
  1. 1.Geography, College of Life and Environmental SciencesUniversity of ExeterExeterUK
  2. 2.Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef StudiesJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  3. 3.WorldFishHoniaraSolomon Islands
  4. 4.Bristol Business SchoolUniversity of West EnglandBristolUK
  5. 5.College of Business, Law and GovernanceJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  6. 6.Lancaster Environment CentreLancaster UniversityLancasterUK
  7. 7.WorldFishPenangMalaysia

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