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      Stimulating collective action to preserve High Nature Value farming in post-transitional settings. A comparative analysis of three Slovenian social-ecological systems

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      Nature Conservation

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          The main research challenge of this paper is to gain a better understanding of collective action to preserve High Nature Value (HNV) farming in the specific setting of post-transitional EU Member States of Central and Eastern Europe, which we explore using Slovenia as a model country. We apply the Social-ecological Systems (SES) framework and combine participatory and action research in considering different options for stimulating collective action of local actors in three social-ecological systems in Slovenia. We describe the systems, focussing on first-tier variables, and provide a comparison of their characteristics influencing the readiness to engage in collective action. Characteristics of system actors had the greatest influence on outcomes, followed by the social, economic and political setting (macro issues) and governance arrangements. Strong leaders enjoying the community’s trust are needed; rules must be transparent and individuals must have a personal interest to engage in cooperation. In a post-transitional setting, overcoming the issue of lack of trust is a limiting factor when attempting to stimulate collective action.

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          Most cited references 31

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          A general framework for analyzing sustainability of social-ecological systems.

           Elinor Ostrom (2009)
          A major problem worldwide is the potential loss of fisheries, forests, and water resources. Understanding of the processes that lead to improvements in or deterioration of natural resources is limited, because scientific disciplines use different concepts and languages to describe and explain complex social-ecological systems (SESs). Without a common framework to organize findings, isolated knowledge does not cumulate. Until recently, accepted theory has assumed that resource users will never self-organize to maintain their resources and that governments must impose solutions. Research in multiple disciplines, however, has found that some government policies accelerate resource destruction, whereas some resource users have invested their time and energy to achieve sustainability. A general framework is used to identify 10 subsystem variables that affect the likelihood of self-organization in efforts to achieve a sustainable SES.
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            The Pure Theory of Public Expenditure

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              Adaptive comanagement for building resilience in social-ecological systems.

              Ecosystems are complex adaptive systems that require flexible governance with the ability to respond to environmental feedback. We present, through examples from Sweden and Canada, the development of adaptive comanagement systems, showing how local groups self-organize, learn, and actively adapt to and shape change with social networks that connect institutions and organizations across levels and scales and that facilitate information flows. The development took place through a sequence of responses to environmental events that widened the scope of local management from a particular issue or resource to a broad set of issues related to ecosystem processes across scales and from individual actors, to group of actors to multiple-actor processes. The results suggest that the institutional and organizational landscapes should be approached as carefully as the ecological in order to clarify features that contribute to the resilience of social-ecological systems. These include the following: vision, leadership, and trust; enabling legislation that creates social space for ecosystem management; funds for responding to environmental change and for remedial action; capacity for monitoring and responding to environmental feedback; information flow through social networks; the combination of various sources of information and knowledge; and sense-making and arenas of collaborative learning for ecosystem management. We propose that the self-organizing process of adaptive comanagement development, facilitated by rules and incentives of higher levels, has the potential to expand desirable stability domains of a region and make social-ecological systems more robust to change.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Conservation
                NC
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-3301
                1314-6947
                May 22 2020
                May 22 2020
                : 39
                : 87-111
                Article
                10.3897/natureconservation.39.51216
                © 2020

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