New Environmental Governance on the Range : Voluntary Conservation to Preclude an Endangered Species Act Listing? Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/qr46r537z

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  • Natural resource challenges in the American West feature a suite of actors and processes operating at different spatial and political scales, and crossing several administrative jurisdictions. I applied concepts of new environmental governance to Oregon’s greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) conservation strategy, focusing, in particular, on features of voluntary conservation arrangements that motivated participation of private landowners in conservation, and how high-level objectives reached actors responsible for on-the-ground implementation. Data were obtained from one critical case in Lake County, Oregon through in-depth, semi-structured interviews with private landowners who had voluntarily participated in sage-grouse conservation, as well as with governmental and nongovernmental actors from low to high jurisdictional levels. I found that through voluntary conservation arrangements, landowners and mid- and lower-level actors had flexibility, autonomy, and financial and technical resources to carry out higher-level objectives, that is, conservation outcomes identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Landowner participation in voluntary arrangements was largely motivated by well-funded program offerings that were largely aligned with production goals and gave them a sense of control over their own destinies in the context of a potential Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing of sage-grouse. Decentralization and devolution of implementation authority to mid- and local-level actors was facilitated by organizations acting as intermediaries between landowners and actors at high levels (e.g., the USFWS). This increased the capacity of lower-level actors who felt that they had flexibility to implement conservation while concurrently achieve their own objectives (i.e., continuing to make a living ranching). By aligning voluntary conservation offerings with the economic and cultural context of this case (e.g., using trusted intermediaries to deliver resources to landowners for improving ranching operations), voluntary conservation arrangements may enhance the capacities of local-level implementers and alleviate the need for some regulatory protections in contexts in which conservation and rural livelihoods intersect. This case, relying on voluntary conservation and decentralization of authority, is an example of how new environmental governance offers a way forward in cracking common property challenges. Further exploration of connections between higher levels of governance and local contexts will reveal important, new ways to connect policy-makers to those affected by policy.
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Steven Van Tuyl(steve.vantuyl@oregonstate.edu) on 2017-09-20T22:40:23Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 2license_rdf: 1232 bytes, checksum: bb87e2fb4674c76d0d2e9ed07fbb9c86 (MD5)WollsteinKatherineL2018.pdf: 1964320 bytes, checksum: 7f51d6bb6c74f0bad20e9d88cc8d87ee (MD5)
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