Nature Stewardship

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Nature Stewardship

Earth Stewardship

Local Environmental Stewardship Framework


"Local environmental stewardship is the actions taken by individuals, groups or networks of actors, with various motivations and levels of capacity, to protect, care for or responsibly use the environment in pursuit of environmental and/or social outcomes in diverse social-ecological contexts."[1]

Bennet and colleagues in 2018 [1] published a research article that intended to "raise the profile of environmental stewardship as a valuable and holistic concept for guiding productive and sustainable relationships with the environment". They did it by synthesizing the existing published information, articulated definitions, fill the existing gaps and proposed a practical framework that helps practitioners, researchers and policy and decision-makers to increase the potential of environmental stewardship.

Framework concept, elements

According to Bennet and colleagues (2018), local environmental stewardship action is the expression of three key elements - actors, motivations and capacity - that depend on the socio-ecological context on which the action intends to have a positive impact (Figure 1).

Figure 1 - A conceptual framework for local environmental stewardship. [1]

In Figure 2, the authors express their analytical framework. They consider that local cultural, social and environmental context and its complexity and dynamism of change will shape the identity of the actors (if organizing at individual, collectives of networks) as well as their focus (allocations) and characteristics. The context will also have a significant impact on the intrinsic motivations that led actors to act, such as the rationale, the moral obligations and will to act. Also, the actions can have significant impact on the perceived benefits that local communities get from healthy ecosystems as well as the socio-economic incentives or sanctions (extrinsic motivations). The local context also enables or undermines the local capacity, both in terms of local assets (considering 6 key capitals) as well as the institutional governance, both of which influence the ability of local actors to engage themselves and local community with the actions. Also, the local context determines what constitutes an appropriate and effective action, which can consist of different types, complexities and scales, as well as having multiple purposes, such as protect, restore of promote the sustainable use of resources. The outcomes of stewardship are multiple and do benefits all the stewardship elements if continuously monitored allowing to nurture constructive adaptations and evolution of any part of the process in order to increase the social and ecological outcomes in space and time.

Figure 2 - Analytical framework for the elements of local environmental stewardship. Strategic interventions – government policies, NGO programs or market mechanisms can be applied at different leverage points (*) to support or promote local environmental stewardship efforts. [1]

In the following table, Bennet and colleagues (2018)[1], provide key definitions in order for us to be able to understand the analytical framework they propose.

Table 1 - Definitions of key concepts related to environmental stewardship .[1]

Other Similar Concepts

Stewardship of natural resources
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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Bennett, Nathan J., Tara S. Whitty, Elena Finkbeiner, Jeremy Pittman, Hannah Bassett, Stefan Gelcich, e Edward H. Allison. «Environmental Stewardship: A Conceptual Review and Analytical Framework». Environmental Management 61, n. 4 (Abril de 2018): 597–614.