Governance networks can facilitate coordinated action and shared opportunities for learning among conservation scientists, policy makers, and communities. However, governance networks that link local, regional, and international actors just as often reflect social relationships and arrangements that can undermine conservation efforts, particularly those concerning community-level priorities. Here, we identify three “waypoints” or navigational guides to help researchers and practitioners explore these networks, and to inspire them to consider in a more systematic manner the social rules and relationships that influence conservation outcomes. These waypoints encourage those engaged in community-based conservation (CBC) to: (1) think about the networks in which they are embedded and the constellation of actors that influence conservation practice; (2) examine the values and interests of diverse actors in governance, and the implications of different perspectives for conservation; and (3) consider how the structure and dynamics of networks can reveal helpful insights for conservation efforts. The three waypoints we highlight synthesize an interdisciplinary literature on governance networks and provide key insights for conservation actors navigating the challenges of CBC at multiple scales and levels.
Navigating governance networks for community-based conservation
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment