CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

A shared approach.

 

Different academics and organizations have developed their own ways of researching and monitoring conservation. Having a diversity of approaches is typically a good thing—different methods and frameworks can answer diverse conservation questions tailored to the needs of specific decision-makers. However, too many frameworks for monitoring and evaluation can hinder the development of a broad understanding on which interventions are most effective at delivering conservation outcomes.

A core part of the ACES collaborative is having a shared theory-based framework that underpins monitoring, evaluation, and learning approaches in conservation efforts across institutions. Having a shared theoretical approach allows for a diversity of research methods that can be tailored to specific needs based on context, while allowing insights to roll up into a broader understanding of community conservation.

 
 

THE ACES CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK: A Z-LOGIC MODEL

Conceptual frameworks can help us organize how we see reality. In the context of community-based conservation, a conceptual framework can organize and show the existing scientific theory relevant to understanding community-based conservation, together with the theories of change that surround community-based conservation strategies.

Incorporating theory, we organized the Z-logic conceptual model around three distinct bodies of literature. The three “components” of the Z-logic model focus on:

Z1: collective action that leads to the establishment of community-based conservation (Ostrom 2000)

Z2: common-pool natural resource governance, and the resulting social and ecological impacts (Ostrom 1990)

Z3: the spread of successful community-based conservation (Rogers 2001, Wejnert, 2002)

The model is a foundation for our ACES learning questions, and will guide how data will be collected to form comparable information across different sites.

 
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This model implies that community-based conservation can support the management of resources – potentially emerging from an open access situation or replacing governmental or private governance systems. These community-based conservation systems shape human behavior and governance in ways that lead to ecological and social benefits. And finally, to achieve successful conservation outcomes, community-based conservation systems must go to scale.

 
Conceptual frameworks can help us organize how we see reality.
 
 

Learning Questions.

The ACES collaborative has identified learning questions to inform a strategic portfolio of projects that advance the evidence base for community-based conservation. Together, these questions can inform broad-scale decisions on where and how to invest in community conservation.

A set of ten priority questions were identified through workshops and engagement with community-based conservation experts, a review of the scientific evidence and literature, and collaboration with the core team. The questions reflect:

(1) relevance to the Z-logic conceptual model

(2) scientific importance, and

(3) practical relevance to field teams implementing community-based conservation interventions.

These priority learning questions were used to help guide the selection and development of learning projects currently underway.

 
 

Z1: COLLECTIVE ACTION

How does governance at higher spatial scales (e.g., regional or national government policies) affect the likelihood of collective action to manage common pool resources?

 
 

Z2: COMMUNITY-BASED CONSERVATION

What are the short-term or long-term social and ecological impacts of community-based conservation?

How do community-based conservation ecological or social outcomes vary over different levels of social (e.g., household, community) or ecological organization (e.g., species, community)?

What are the synergies and trade-offs between ecological and social outcomes of community-based conservation?

How does the governance of community-based conservation interventions influence ecological and social outcomes?

 
 

Z3: DIFFUSION

How do characteristics of the adopters affect rates and patterns of adoption/diffusion of community-based conservation?

How do the characteristics of community-based conservation affect the rates and patterns of community-based conservation adoption and diffusion?

How does the environmental, social, political and economic context affect the rates and patterns of community-based adoption or diffusion?

 
 
 
 

CROSS-CUTTING: BEYOND THE MODEL

Where is community-based conservation happening around the world? What are the spatial locations and patterns? Trends over time? What are the characteristics of these community-based conservation systems?

What are the conditions under which monitoring and evaluation provides credible, salient and legitimate insights to decision-makers at different levels?