Date of this Version
Conservation Biology, Volume 28, No. 2, 302–314
Integration of conservation partnerships across geographic, biological, and administrative boundaries is increasingly relevant because drivers of change, such as climate shifts, transcend these boundaries. We explored successes and challenges of established conservation programs that span multiple watersheds and consider both social and ecological concerns. We asked representatives from a diverse set of 11 broadextent conservation partnerships in 29 countries 17 questions that pertained to launching and maintaining partnerships for broad-extent conservation, specifying ultimate management objectives, and implementation and learning. Partnerships invested more funds in implementing conservation actions than any other aspect of conservation, and a program’s context (geographic extent, United States vs. other countries, developed vs. developing nation) appeared to substantially affect program approach. Despite early successes of these organizations and benefits of broad-extent conservation, specific challenges related to uncertainties in scaling up information and to coordination in the face of diverse partner governance structures, conflicting objectives, and vast uncertainties regarding future system dynamics hindered long-term success, as demonstrated by the focal organizations. Engaging stakeholders, developing conservation measures, and implementing adaptive management were dominant challenges. To inform future research on broad-extent conservation, we considered several challenges when we developed detailed questions, such as what qualities of broad-extent partnerships ensure they complement, integrate, and strengthen, rather than replace, local conservation efforts and which adaptive management processes yield actionable conservation strategies that account explicitly for dynamics and uncertainties regarding multiscale governance, environmental conditions, and knowledge of the system?