A social network approach for assessing sustainability of traditionally managed grasslands in a policy-driven management context
Rozylowicz, L., Nita, A., Manolache, S., Cristiana-Maria, P. C., Miu, V. I. and Hartel, T. (2018). A social network approach for assessing sustainability of traditionally managed grasslands in a policy-driven management context. 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology. doi: 10.17011/conference/eccb2018/107313
© the Authors, 2018
A substantial coverage of native vegetation with high diversity of structural elements, protected species and functional groups can be an important source of resilience for the farming landscapes. Nevertheless, the new Common Agricultural Policies (CAP) measures contradict the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 objective of halting the loss of grasslands, by making agricultural intensification or afforestation an attractive option for farmers (Pe'er et al. 2014). This situation can be interpreted as a "rigidity trap" case, where the landowners recognize the unsuitability of CAP measures but are encouraged to continue by EU subsidies. Furthermore, acquisition of agricultural lands by large landowners (land concentration) allows a small number of owners to control large swaths of land. Such threats simplify the management of grasslands, change the connections among farmers and ultimately disrupt the traditional land use (Hartel and Plieninger 2014). Governance structures involved in agricultural landscape management are highly fragmented mostly because policy and operational responsibilities are divided between an array of organizations and persons which makes the analysis of governance structures difficult with conventional tools. However, network governance allows the analysis of informal and formal arrangements where independent people or organisations work together for a common goal, such as management of grasslands (Alexander et al. 2016). To analyze the changes in grasslands governance induced by EU CAP policies, we use social network analysis to contrast two areas over time (before and after influence of CAP) in two regions from Romania - Iron Gates Natural Park and Dobrogea. We selected two Romanian regions (Iron Gates Natural Park (IGNP) - SW Romania and Dobrogea - SE Romania), representative for grassland management in mountain and lowland settings, respectively. The IGNP pasture management was traditionally performed in a decentralized, community-level system and this type of management continues to this day. In contrast, Dobrogea was characterized by a centralized, state-run management regime during the communist time, and by large landowners after transition period ended. We first identified actors of grasslands' governance (i.e., organisations, local people) and analyse management networks using social network metrics (e.g., network-level metrics), we then, identified actors or groups of actors with leadership roles, mainly those promoting sustainability of traditionally managed grasslands in a EU policy-driven management context (e.g., pioneer, sponsor, steward, facilitator of a network), and finally, reported the difference between management regimes in two areas. The results allowed us to explore barriers and opportunities for successful governance by considering influences of typical practices regarding landscape governance and performance, and to understand how formal policy networks influence informal social networks. ...
PublisherOpen Science Centre, University of Jyväskylä
ConferenceECCB2018: 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology. 12th - 15th of June 2018, Jyväskylä, Finland
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- ECCB 2018