Partnerships between organizations that manage protected land in California are associated with groups with environmentally oriented missions

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12959
JournalConservation Science and Practice
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • co-management
  • conservation management
  • mission statements
  • protected areas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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