Session: Conservation Planning, Policy, And Theory 1
Cross-boundary collaboration for Andean bear conservation
Monday, August 2, 2021
Link To Share This Presentation: https://cdmcd.co/Z4DqMX
Rhianna R. Hohbein, Integrative Conservation, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, Nathan P. Nibbelink, Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia, Athens, GA and Robert J. Cooper, Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Rhianna R. Hohbein
Integrative Conservation, University of Georgia Athens, Georgia, United States
Background/Question/Methods Effective environmental governance is often viewed as one of the most important contributing factors to successful conservation. Good alignment between institutions and the geographical extents of ecological issues or systems they are meant to manage contributes to this success (known as “social-ecological fit”). However, issues and systems often extend beyond the control of any one organization or agency and thus require the efforts of multiple actors working together to achieve their common goals. In Colombia, the known range of the Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus)—a species considered "vulnerable" to extinction—crosses the jurisdictional boundaries of 22 autonomous regional authorities (known as corporaciones autónomas regionales, or CARs)—the primary entities responsible for implementing conservation policy in the country. Other organizations and agencies also have important roles to play in the conservation of this species, such as Colombia’s National Natural Park Service and many nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). We examined the social-ecological fit of this institutional network of heterogenous conservation actors working to conserve the Andean bear across the Colombian Andes. Our analysis was based upon social network and qualitative data derived from 67 semi-structured interviews with 71 Colombian conservation practitioners along with a model of Andean bear connectivity. Results/Conclusions We found that 53 unique pairs of CARs shared habitat along their jurisdictional borders that was identified as important to Andean bear connectivity, but only 16 pairs of CARs (30% of pairwise matches) communicated with one another about their Andean bear research and conservation strategies. CARs were more likely to communicate with entities of Colombia’s National Natural Park Service or NGOs. These other actors were often located within the social network structure as intermediaries between otherwise disconnected CARs. These actors could use such strategic positions to facilitate coordination between CARs that share habitat important for Andean bear connectivity and, in so doing, improve social-ecological fit for the conservation of this species.