Gaining Legitimacy and Losing Trust: Stakeholder Participation in Ecological Risk Assessment for Marine Protected Area Management

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This study examines the application of a qualitative Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA) tool to initiate management planning and community engagement in newly legislated Marine Protected Areas. Scientists and the agency expected the participatory element to increase the legitimacy of management by achieving consensus about management priorities as well as to engender trust in science and agency procedures. We point to the complex nature of participatory engagement when expert and lay knowledge are combined while an agency's claim to legitimacy rests on scientific judgements. While community engagement offered agency staff an additional way to claim legitimacy it also challenged the way planners, rangers as well as community representatives previously attained trust.

Keywords: expert and lay knowledge; legitimacy; participation; risk; trust

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 2011

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  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has an impact factor (2013) of 1.739.
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