Community-based management of environmental challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean
Ecology and Society, 21 (4): e4 (9p.)
This Special Feature gathers the results of five research projects funded by the 7th Research Framework Program of the European Union and aims to identify successful cases of community-based management of environmental challenges in Latin America. The funding scheme, Research for the benefit of Civil Society Organizations, fostered innovative research approaches between civil society and research organizations. More than 20 field sites have been explored, and issues such as trade-offs between conservation and development, scientific versus local knowledge, social learning, ecosystem services, community owned solutions, scaling-up and scaling-out strategies, the influence of context and actors in effective environmental management and governance, and the conflicts of interests around natural resources have been addressed. Based on our experiences as project coordinators, in this editorial we reflect on some of the important lessons gained for research praxis and impact, focusing on knowledge of governance models and their scaling-out and scaling-up, and on methods and tools to enable action research at the science-civil society interface. The results highlight the richness of community-based management experiences that exist in Latin America and the diversity of approaches to encourage the sustainable community-based management of environmental challenges.