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The problem of misfits. Diagnosing and designing institutions for biodiversity conservation

Clement, S., Moore, S.A. and Lockwood, M. (2013) The problem of misfits. Diagnosing and designing institutions for biodiversity conservation. In: Society for Human Ecology Conference XIX, 4 - 8 February, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

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Efforts to conserve biodiversity have failed to halt species loss and ecosystem decline in Australia. A suggested reason is the 'problem of fit,’ where existing institutional frameworks fail to provide the appropriate spatial, temporal and functional elements that support biodiversity conservation. A proposed remedy is a shift from a favoured single species and communities approach to one capable of a whole of landscape or bioregional view. Such a shift requires not only new management, planning tools, and approaches, but also a change in the institutional rules, norms and culture that underpin governance. A critical first step is determining the design requirements for these new institutions. A framework for doing so is proposed and elucidated in this seminar, drawing particularly on adaptive governance and organisational theory. The latter is particularly important in providing a practical link between adaptive governance theorising and reality. Leadership, culture, power, and learning are considered as critical elements of this organisational approach. The framework also includes and emphasises collective institutional entrepreneurship, recognising that the collective response required for successful biodiversity conservation relies on innovative actions by collectives as well as individuals. Following expert review, the conceptual framework will provide the basis for assessment of the institutional aspects of biodiversity governance in the Tasmanian Midlands and Australian Alps. This research is a critical aspect of the Landscapes and Policy Research Hub that is developing tools, techniques, and policy options to improve biodiversity conservation at a landscape scale.

Publication Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
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