Partnerships between Organizations That Manage Protected Land in California Are Associated with Groups with Environmentally Oriented Missions

Using data on protected areas from California, this article explores the frequency and extent of partnering between managing land-protection organizations.

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June 2, 2023


Emily Harding, Kailin Kroetz, Hanna L. Breetz, Kaitlyn L. Malakoff, Alexandra Thompson, Heather Bird Jackson, Paul R. Armsworth, and Gwenllian D. Iacona


Journal Article in Conservation Science and Practice

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1 minute


Partnerships between organizations that engage in land protection are promoted as a way to improve the efficiency of limited conservation budgets. However, limited empirical exploration of the types of organizations involved in partnering and their organizational objectives precludes a holistic understanding of how to integrate partnering into planning for improved conservation outcomes. Using data on protected areas from California, United States, we explored the frequency and extent of partnering between managing organizations. In addition, we analyzed mission statements of partnering and non-partnering organizations to explore whether organizational objectives were related to observed partnering behavior. We estimated that partnerships managed about 7 million acres, comprising 8% of total protected land area, in California. Furthermore, the organizations that we observed partnering tended to use more environmental themed language in their mission statements, while non-partnering organizations tended to use language with socioeconomic themes. These results provide empirical evidence of partnering and support further exploration of it as a potentially important mechanism to improve conservation outcomes. In addition, they suggest that current partnering patterns and future opportunities to expand partnerships in protected land management likely depend on organizations pursuing wildlife and nature focused conservation objectives, and to a lesser extent socioeconomic objectives.


Emily Harding

Arizona State University

Hanna L. Breetz

Arizona State University

Kaitlyn L. Malakoff

Arizona State University

Heather Bird Jackson

Colorado State University

Paul R. Armsworth

University of Tennessee

Gwenllian D. Iacona

Arizona State University

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