A sea of poppies and other wildflowers
Michelle O'Herron

What Does Collaborative Capacity Make Possible?


Collaborative conservation and stewardship offer effective approaches for addressing complex challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental justice. They also provide innovative ways to fill governance gaps and make inclusive decisions in situations for which we have no sufficient structure, processes, or abilities. However, in order to effectively allocate scarce resources, we need to better understand how to invest in the “collaborative capacity” that sustains collaborative groups, partnerships, and networks.

This study provides an analysis of what collaborative capacity is and how it leads to improved conservation and stewardship outcomes based on expert perspectives gathered from in-depth interviews and focus groups with practitioners, leaders, and funders across the United States.

We present a framework that illustrates the collaborative capacity elements that are necessary and fundable, as well as a list of activities they enable. We share the reasons why consistent, long-term investment in these elements is needed. We emphasize the contextual factors that affect collaboration so that these investments are made in the right places, at the right times, and in the right ways to achieve their potential. We end with a set of recommendations directed toward practitioners, funders, and researchers that will help align their efforts, making them more effective, efficient, and able to achieve durable outcomes.


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California Landscape Stewardship Network
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El Cerrito, CA 94530

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