Theories of natural resource management and conservation, such as adaptive management and adaptive co-management, are based on strong but mostly untested assumptions about the importance of engaging local stakeholders in conservation and management efforts.

The aim of this project is to analyse the effect of stakeholder participation in natural resource management programs on 1) outcomes in ecosystems, and 2) learning processes. Through a powerful combination of a transdisciplinary research team, cross-national panel survey of 144 BR-areas in 55 countries, longitudinal biodiversity mapping using satellite imagery, and context-sensitive field work in 10 strategically selected cases studies, the contested role of stakeholder participation in natural resource management will be examined in with a much higher degree of precision and generalizability than previously possible.

The significance of the proposed project consists in its unique ability to subject key theoretical assumptions to rigours testing against several different types of empirical data. In addition, the proposed project will compile and make publicly available a data set consisting of estimates of interlinked social and ecological systems situated in 55 different political contexts. This will enable researchers to analyze long term interaction patterns between social and ecological systems, as well as generate new research questions that go beyond current theories of environmental management.

The GLEAN project is funded by the National Science Foundation (Vetenskapsrådet) and will be carried out by a cross-diciplinary research team during the period 2012-2016

GLEAN - project description (47 Kb)

Project participants

Örjan Bodin Homepage

Andreas Duit Homepage

Cecilia Lundholm Homepage

Lisen Schultz Homepage

Simon West Homepage


Duit, Andreas, and Ola Hall (forthcoming): Causes and consequences of stakeholder participation in natural resource management: evidence from 143 Biosphere Reserves in 55 countries.

Schultz, Lisen, Duit, Andreas, and Carl Folke (2011): Participation, Adaptive Co-management, and Management Performance in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

Schultz, Lisen, and Cecilia Lundholm (2010): Learning for resilience? Exploring learning opportunities in biosphere reserves.