Relationship-scale conservation

Jeffrey J. Brooks, Robert G. Dvorak, Mike Spindler, Susanne Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Conservation can occur anywhere regardless of scale, political jurisdiction, or landownership. We present a framework to help managers at protected areas practice conservation at the scale of relationships. We focus on relationships between stakeholders and protected areas and between managers and other stakeholders. We provide a synthesis of key natural resources literature and present a case example to support our premise and recommendations. The purpose is 4-fold: 1) discuss challenges and threats to conservation and protected areas; 2) outline a relationship-scale approach to address conservation threats; 3) describe the tools and techniques that can be used to implement this approach; and 4) present a case example from rural Alaska, USA, to illustrate relationship-scale conservation. Our case example illustrates how aspects of this approach to conservation were applied to address a wildlife population decline. Tools needed to implement relationship-scale conservation include 1) collecting and documenting narratives of place; 2) measuring and monitoring trust and commitment; and 3) identifying and mitigating threats. We recommend that planners and managers, working with their research partners, redefine and refocus their goals and objectives to include these practices. Doing so will enable them to gain substantial applied knowledge about their stakeholders and foster and maintain place relationships as desired outcomes of conservation. The ultimate outcome is a better prognosis for long-term global survival of protected areas and biodiversity. Published 2014. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-158
Number of pages12
JournalWildlife Society Bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • conservation threats
  • literature synthesis
  • narratives
  • place meanings
  • protected area planning and management
  • relationship to place
  • stakeholders
  • trust


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