Making connections: Environmental NGOs and cross -scale linkages in Ecuador's tropical forests policy process
As study of the human dimensions of global environmental change broadens and deepens, inquiry into the area of cross-scale linkages presents a set of questions focused on understanding the complexity of the coupled interactions between humans and the ecosystems upon which they depend (National Research Council 2005). Interest in this area bears witness to the social innovation taking place as new types of resource management models and forms of environmental governance are explored, utilized, and critiqued by policy-makers, conservation-development practitioners, and members of local communities around the world.
Utilizing institutional analysis, this qualitative research examines the interests and incentives which impede and enhance linkages between local communities and other actors in the tropical forests policy process through the organizational form of environmentally-focused non-governmental organizations (ENGOs). This in-depth case study examines the interests and incentives at play among ENGOs involved in conservation efforts directed toward protection of the humid tropical forests of the Ecuadorian Chocó bioregion, located in Northwestern Ecuador. It focuses attention on one Ecuadorian ENGO in its interactions with Playa de Oro, an Afro-Ecuadorian community involved in an integrated conservation development program dedicated to preserving one of the world's most diverse bioregions.
The research finds that the role of developing country ENGOs as cross-scale linking organizations may be significant due to networks which connect many different social systems. However, continual challenges are posed by the conflicting demands inherent in ENGOs' networks of organizational relationships and the blurred lines between the boundaries of "conservation" and "development."
0617: Public administration