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Creating restoration landscapes: partnerships in large-scale conservation in the UK

William M. Adams, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
Ian D. Hodge, Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
Nicholas A. Macgregor, Natural England, Nobel House, London, UK; Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, UK
Lindsey C. Sandbrook, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK


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It is increasingly recognized that ecological restoration demands conservation action beyond the borders of existing protected areas. This requires the coordination of land uses and management over a larger area, usually with a range of partners, which presents novel institutional challenges for conservation planners. Interviews were undertaken with managers of a purposive sample of large-scale conservation areas in the UK. Interviews were open-ended and analyzed using standard qualitative methods. Results show a wide variety of organizations are involved in large-scale conservation projects, and that partnerships take time to create and demand resilience in the face of different organizational practices, staff turnover, and short-term funding. Successful partnerships with local communities depend on the establishment of trust and the availability of external funds to support conservation land uses. We conclude that there is no single institutional model for large-scale conservation: success depends on finding institutional strategies that secure long-term conservation outcomes, and ensure that conservation gains are not reversed when funding runs out, private owners change priorities, or land changes hands.

Key words

biodiversity conservation; conservation governance; ecological restoration; landscape-scale conservation; neoliberalism; partnership

Copyright © 2016 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