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Using social network analysis to identify key stakeholders in agricultural biodiversity governance and related land-use decisions at regional and local level

Jennifer Hauck, Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ; CoKnow Consulting - Coproducing Knowledge for Sustainability
Jenny Schmidt, Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Anja Werner, Ökolöwe - Umweltbund Leipzig e.V.; Grüne Liga Sachsen e.V.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-08596-210249

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Abstract

In 2013 the European Commission launched its new green infrastructure strategy to make another attempt to stop and possibly reverse the loss of biodiversity until 2020, by connecting habitats in the wider landscape. This means that conservation would go beyond current practices to include landscapes that are dominated by conventional agriculture, where biodiversity conservation plays a minor role at best. The green infrastructure strategy aims at bottom-up rather than top-down implementation, and suggests including local and regional stakeholders. Therefore, it is important to know which stakeholders influence land-use decisions concerning green infrastructure at the local and regional level. The research presented in this paper served to select stakeholders in preparation for a participatory scenario development process to analyze consequences of different implementation options of the European green infrastructure strategy. We used a mix of qualitative and quantitative social network analysis (SNA) methods to combine actors’ attributes, especially concerning their perceived influence, with structural and relational measures. Further, our analysis provides information on institutional backgrounds and governance settings for green infrastructure and agricultural policy. The investigation started with key informant interviews at the regional level in administrative units responsible for relevant policies and procedures such as regional planners, representatives of federal ministries, and continued at the local level with farmers and other members of the community. The analysis revealed the importance of information flows and regulations but also of social pressure, considerably influencing biodiversity governance with respect to green infrastructure and biodiversity.

Key words

actor analysis; common agricultural policy; coproduction of knowledge; green infrastructure; Net-Map; stakeholder analysis

Copyright © 2016 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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