Responsibility on environmental stewardship is often placed on specific ecosystem user groups. Our cross-cultural study detected constraints on environmental stewardship at multiple scales of social system. System-wide support for environmental stewardship is needed.
Managing and restoring ecosystems and cultural systems calls for the collaboration between multiple interest groups associated with the ecosystems under management. In this study, situated in New Zealand context, we investigated the relational values (i.e. values in relation to an ecosystem and its people) that local landowners and local Māori environmental guardians have regarding wetland ecosystems, as well as constraints impeding the enactment of their values in environmental action.
The results of our empirical study suggest that understanding interest groups’ relational values, and importantly also the constraints they experience in enacting those values, could contribute to finding common ground for interest groups to foster intergroup collaboration. Thus, investigating and communicating interest group values could improve outcomes of environmental management and care for both ecosystems and people.
Furthermore, our findings demonstrate that constraints to environmental stewardship must be addressed at multiple levels of the social system – from individuals to policies – to enable better representation of Indigenous and local values in environmental management.
Bataille C., Malinen S.K., Yletyinen J., Scott N., Lyver P.O’B. Relational values provide common ground and expose multi-level constraints to cross-cultural wetland management. People and Nature (in press)