Environmental Conservation

THEMATIC SECTION: Community-based natural resource management (CBNRM): designing the next generation (Part 2)

Factors influencing success among collaborative sage-grouse management groups in the western United States


a1 Community-Based Conservation Program, Department of Wildland Resources, Utah State University, 5230 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 84322-5230, USA

a2 Institute for Social Science Research on Natural Resources, Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology, Utah State University, 0730 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 84322-0730, USA


Considerable efforts have been put into collaborative conservation efforts across the globe. In the western USA, concern about declines of two sage-grouse species (Centrocercus urophasianus and C. minimus) has led to the creation of over 60 collaborative wildlife management partnership groups to develop and implement local sage-grouse management plans. These sage-grouse local working groups (LWGs) share a common goal, information, and policy environment, but were implemented in diverse ways. As a result, they provide a rare opportunity to study systematically the impact of contextual, organizational, institutional and process factors on local collaborative group success. Data from document reviews and an extensive survey of over 700 group participants from 53 sage-grouse LWGs were used to assess the success of this collaborative conservation effort and identify those group attributes that were related to successful implementation and funding of projects. Specifically, external, internal and emergent group characteristics were considered as likely predictors of LWG implementation success. The LWGs varied broadly in their achievements. The presence of a neutral facilitator, participants' feelings of ownership, groups whose local plans had more authority and early-stage group successes were significantly related to implementation success at the group level.

(Received September 07 2009)

(Accepted May 14 2010)


c1 Correspondence: Lorien R. Belton. e-mail: lorien.belton@usu.edu