Linking Ecosystem Health Indicators and Collaborative Management: a Systematic Framework to Evaluate Ecological and Social Outcomes
Tischa A Muñoz-Erickson, Arizona State University
Bernardo Aguilar-González, Prescott College
Thomas D. Sisk, Northern Arizona University
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Collaborative management has gained popularity across the United States as a means of addressing the sustainability of mixed-ownership landscapes and resolving persistent conflicts in public lands management. At the same time, it has generated skepticism because its ecological and social outcomes are seldom measured. Evaluating the success of collaborative efforts is difficult because frameworks to assess on-the-ground outcomes are poorly developed or altogether lacking. Ecosystem health indicators are valuable tools for evaluating site-specific outcomes of collaboration based on the effects of collaboration on ecological and socioeconomic conditions. We present the holistic ecosystem health indicator, a promising framework for evaluating the outcomes of collaborative processes, which uses ecological, social, and interactive indicators to monitor conditions through time. Finally, we draw upon our experience working with the Diablo Trust, a community-based collaborative group in northern Arizona, USA, to illustrate the development of an indicator selection model generated through a stakeholder-driven process.
adaptive management; collaborative management; holistic ecosystem health indicator; northern Arizona rangeland; outcome evaluation; participatory approach; socio-ecological systems; sustainability