Finding solutions to shared challenges—and ways to take advantage of mutually beneficial opportunities—was at the root of why the California Landscape Stewardship Network first came to be.
One approach we’ve taken is to look at the systems that either enable or constrain this kind of work and to rethink how these systems operate. In some cases, we may simply want to reconsider how we engage in existing systems rather than looking for change. However, often some change is needed so that we can work at the pace and scale necessary to meet the social and ecological challenges that we currently face.
While systems shape nearly every aspect of our lives and our work, the Network has been focused on particular systems that greatly affect how successful we can be at doing land stewardship at scale.
Systems Change & Systems Thinking
Stepping back, we have been exploring how to approach systems thinking, how different kinds of systems interact in our work, and how best to apply these ideas to landscape stewardship. The recent Systems Thinking and Change: A Guide for Landscape Stewardship Practitioners describes how landscape stewardship practitioners can more intentionally and clearly apply this lens to their work.
The other systems change topics that the CA Network has been tackling include:
Regulatory Permitting & Compliance
Created to protect the state’s natural resources, California’s existing environmental permitting and compliance systems have a huge impact on our ability to care for our lands and waters. The Permitting & Compliance Working Group has been looking at how to improve these systems so that they better support ecologically beneficial work while maintaining important protections. This led to a collaboration with the California Natural Resources Agency to facilitate statewide conversations through the Cutting Green Tape initiative. Cutting Green Tape has published its report of 14 key recommendations to help enable good restoration and stewardship projects to happen more efficiently and cost effectively.
Policy & Funding
Existing funding and legislative systems are not always structured to support and sustain the unique kind of work we do. The Policy & Funding Working Group has taken on communications and policy analyses related to more general capacity building as well as specific policies. We are also actively exploring how we can adapt funding mechanisms to further support regional stewardship approaches.