A Problem-Oriented View of Large-Scale Conservation

  • Susan G. ClarkEmail author
  • Catherine H. Picard
  • Aaron M. Hohl
Part of the Springer Series on Environmental Management book series (SSEM)


This introductory chapter provides an overview of large-scale conservation, which takes into account both the content (biophysical substance) and process (relations, procedures, and decision-making patterns) of conservation. Large-scale conservation recognizes technical problems but also looks well beyond them to political problems (in decision-making systems) and cultural problems (in the underlying assumptions, expectations, and norms that guide societies and determine how people make decisions). This analysis adopts an explicitly interdisciplinary and problem-oriented approach that focuses on the social and decision-making processes inherent in large-scale conservation. A brief problem-oriented appraisal looks at people’s goals, ideally, environmental sustainability, human dignity, and common interests. It also looks at current trends in conservation toward larger scales and at underlying conditioning factors behind the widespread adoption of large-scale conservation, specifically, innovations in ecology, economic factors, and sociopolitical dynamics. Finally, it offers future projections, i.e., the widespread assessment that environmental problems are likely to worsen in the coming decades. The chapter concludes by summarizing the proposed alternative to current efforts—the practice of adaptive governance—which promises to be more effective in achieving these goals because it is more contextual and practical, fosters integrative decision making and sound judgment by skilled leaders, and creates more inclusive social and decision-making processes.


Large-scale conservation Interdisciplinary problem solving Sustainability Common interest Human dignity Adaptive governance Problem orientation 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan G. Clark
    • 1
    Email author
  • Catherine H. Picard
    • 2
  • Aaron M. Hohl
    • 3
  1. 1.Yale School of Forestry and Environmental StudiesNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Tetra Tech/ARDBurlingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Forestry and Wildland ResourcesHumboldt State UniversityArcataUSA

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