Analysing and Applying Stakeholder Perceptions to Improve Protected Area Governance in Ugandan Conservation Landscapes
Given the diversity of active institutions and stakeholders in a landscape, and the difficulties in ensuring inclusive decision-making, evaluating landscape governance can help surface and address underlying issues. In the context of two protected area landscapes in Uganda, where landscape approaches are being implemented through a wider project on landscape governance, we analyse stakeholder perceptions of inclusive decision-making and then use this evaluation to stimulate dialogue amongst
... ialogue amongst stakeholder groups in each landscape. We ask, how can capturing, analysing, and collaboratively applying people's perceptions address inclusive decision-making in landscape governance? We collected and analysed perceptions using SenseMaker®, a software package that enables analysis of micronarratives (stories) from the field based on how respondents classify their own stories, using triads, dyads, stones, and multiple-choice questions. This self-categorisation by the respondent reduces bias in the analysis and allows the micronarrative to be cross-examined in a variety of ways when analysed using Sensemaker. This analysis created an integrated view of the stakeholder's perceptions about inclusive decision-making in landscape governance. The results show large portions of the respondents feel their voices are neglected, and management of the landscape is poor in Mount Elgon, while in Agoro-Agu, it is the opposite trend. During a community feedback process, reasons for these trends were discussed and solutions proposed. Some of the underlying factors include historical relationships with park authorities and displacement during park creation. To more precisely answer our research question, one could have extended stays in the communities studied in these landscapes, using ethnographic methods including interviews and participant observation; nonetheless, our method, including the feedback process, was an innovative and important way to confront our findings with the informants directly and foster collaborative action. We conclude that understanding people's perceptions, including through participatory feedback, can significantly inform and improve management decisions, help resolve conflicts, and facilitate dialogue between different stakeholders in the landscape.