Commons protected for or from the people? : Co-management in the Swedish mountain region?
Sammanfattning: Protected areas have so far been the primary means to conserve biodiversity, an increasingly important environmental issue, but proposals to establish protected areas are often met by local resistance due to fears that user rights will be severely restrained. Nature conservation traditionally aims to preserve an ideal state of nature, in which interference by people is minimized through a number of regulations, and where central authorities are in charge. Increasingly, however, conservation policy emphasizes participation. Protected area designations are about institutional change where customary and legal rights to use and manage certain resources are renegotiated. Protected areas can be considered as multi-use and multi-level commons that may benefit from co-management where the state cooperates with user groups, municipalities, research institutions and others.This thesis analyzes the establishment phase of the co-management of multi-level, multi-use commons in order to characterize design principles common to the emergence of co-management processes which improve institutional robustness.The thesis is based on a quantitative survey study and a small-n comparative case study. Paper I compares national, regional and local public opinions about protected areas through a multi-level survey. Papers II to IV each presents a case study of a designation process within the Swedish mountain region. The qualitative case studies are based on the structured, focused comparison method and employ within-case analysis and process-tracing. The material examined consisted of written documentation and 41 semi-structured interviews.The two studies contribute to commons theory; the focus on the establishment phase provides opportunities to acquire abundant information about how contextual and process factors influence the functioning of a co-management arrangement. Paper I suggests that national public opinion is an important contextual variable for natural resources of national interest, and shows that 65% of the Swedish population support local or co-management of protected areas. Papers II to IV reveal that the rigidity of the existing institutional framework is another important contextual variable that influences the degree of learning taking place. Further, the comparative analysis proposes that certain characteristics of a process (the co-management process principles) are essential for the realization of co-management arrangements of multi-level and multi-use commons. The principles are representation, reason(ableness), powers, accountability and learning.
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