Biodiversity conflict management: land-use policies in island landscapes, a state-level comparison

Our 4-member team is focused on state and regional policies that designate land for biodiversity reserves in three regions (Hawaii, Tasmania, and the area southeast of Los Angeles in southern California). With escalating globalization, development, and biodiversity crises, policy goals face increasingly intense competition from human-oriented land uses. Island landscapes, both oceanic and terrestrial (i.e., geographically isolated areas), foster particularly contentious disputes between government officials and land users due to the juxtaposition of biodiversity, limited land area, and limited economic alternatives. Disputes over land use in an “environment versus economy” context are notably chronic, long-standing, and socially disruptive. We are using policy case studies and disputes that disrupt policy implementation to explore whether conflict management effectively promotes biodiversity and environmentally sensitive land use. Our objectives are to: (1) develop a framework for decision-making and conflict management, (2) provide a comprehensive set of guidelines by which existing disputes can be evaluated, and (3) develop predictions about what will constitute a ‘successful’ versus ‘unsuccessful’ process to manage disputes. Our expected outcome is to generate recommendations in each of the three regions that will address improved conservation land-use policies.