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Stakeholder Participation in Management of Invasive Vertebrates

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JournalConservation Biology
DateE-pub ahead of print - 23 Mar 2009
DatePublished (current) - Apr 2012
Issue number2
Volume26
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)345-356
Early online date23/03/09
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Stakeholders are increasingly involved in species conservation. We sought to understand what features of a participatory conservation program are associated with its ecological and social outcomes. We conducted a case study of the management of invasive vertebrates in Australia. Invasive vertebrates are a substantial threat to Australia's native species, and stakeholder participation in their management is often necessary for their control. First, we identified potential influences on the ecological and social outcomes of species conservation programs from the literature. We used this information to devise an interview questionnaire, which we administered to managers of 34 participatory invasive-vertebrate programs. Effects of invasive species were related to program initiator (agency or citizen), reasons for use of a participatory approach, and stakeholder composition. Program initiator was also related to the participation methods used, level of governance (i.e., governed by an agency or citizens), changes in stakeholder interactions, and changes in abundance of invasive species. Ecological and social outcomes were related to changes in abundance of invasive species and stakeholder satisfaction. We identified relations between changes in the number of participants, stakeholder satisfaction, and occurrence of conflict. Potential ways to achieve ecological and social goals include provision of governmental support (e.g., funding) to stakeholders and minimization of gaps in representation of stakeholder groups or individuals to, for example, increase conflict mitigation. Our findings provide guidance for increasing the probability of achieving ecological and social objectives in management of invasive vertebrates and may be applicable to other participatory conservation programs.

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