Understanding Challenges for Sustainable Mountain Governance: Results of a Global Survey

Authors: Catherine Tucker*, University of Florida, Julia Klein , Colorado State University , Alexey Gunya, Russian Academy of Geography, Elizabeth Jimenez, CIDES
Topics: Mountain Environments, Coupled Human and Natural Systems
Keywords: mountains, governance, sustainability, global environmental change, social-ecological systems
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 11
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Mountain social-ecological systems (MtSES) around the world are experiencing profound transformations related to socioeconomic, political, and environmental change processes. Effective governance has been identified as crucial for moving toward sustainability. However, to our knowledge there has yet to be a global investigation of the major governance challenges and opportunities for moving toward sustainability of MtSES. We endeavored to address this gap by conducting an online survey of mountain researchers and practitioners around the world. The survey elicited responses to address two research questions: (1) What kinds of problems, risks and challenges impede effective governance for sustainability of mountain social-ecological systems? (2) What relationships appear between governance arrangements and progress – or its lack --toward fostering sustainability of mountain systems? The survey received 75 valid responses representing 39 countries and 36 mountain ranges across five continents. The responses focused on political-structural, socioeconomic, and environmental challenges for governance, as well as examples of local efforts to address these challenges. The data analysis, in process at this time, show a wide range of variation in combinations of internal and external challenges that undermine effective governance. At the same time, promising examples exist of local efforts to reverse unsustainable trends and create sustainable alternatives.

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