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Landscape stewardship for a German UNESCO Biosphere Reserve: a network approach to establishing stewardship governance

Klara J. Winkler, University of Oldenburg, Germany; McGill University, Canada
Jennifer Hauck, CoKnow Consulting - Coproducing Knowledge for Sustainability


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The German East Frisian Peninsula is a multiuse area with land demands by stakeholders with different goals, including agriculture, tourism, nature conservation, and housing. The state administration is in the process of extending the transition zone of the existing UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Wadden Sea of Lower Saxony onto the peninsula. In this paper, we explore the characteristics of the existing societal structures in order to identify both potential catalysts and possible pitfalls for the establishment of landscape stewardship as a governance approach for the transition zone. Landscape stewardship is a place-based concept integrating participation and relational values into environmental governance. We use Net-Map, a participatory social network method, to explore the types of relationships and influence that stakeholders perceive and the extent to which the landscape could serve as an operational unit for governance. We find various stakeholder groups on the peninsula, with agricultural groups and municipalities perceived as having the most influence and being the best connected. We identify five types of relationships (formal, institutionalized, informal, sporadic, none) and four kinds of influence (legal, political, land, financial). Additionally, the landscape has cultural importance that could foster stewardship. The Biosphere Reserve administration may function as a catalyst for establishing landscape stewardship on the East Frisian Peninsula by bringing stakeholders together and highlighting the shared goal of preserving the landscape for the future.

Key words

governance; Lower Saxony; SNA; Wadden Sea

Copyright © 2019 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087