Save

Triple Helix Twins: Operationalizing the Sustainability Agenda in the Northern Black Forest National Park in Germany

In: Triple Helix
Authors:
Christiane Gebhardt The University of Edinburgh UK

Search for other papers by Christiane Gebhardt in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3127-3744
,
Mariza Almeida Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro Brazil

Search for other papers by Mariza Almeida in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
, and
Henry Etzkowitz International Triple Helix Institute USA

Search for other papers by Henry Etzkowitz in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8185-8153
Open Access

Abstract

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gives policy recommendations based on scientific research and agreed climate targets. We outline the concepts and requirements for implementing the sustainability goals. The Triple Helix Twin model is tested as method to analyze the governance of environmental policy formation and implementation. The model is applied to the controversial case of creating the large-scale natural area Northern Park Black Forest in Germany in the period of 2011 to 2014. The protected zone was set up employing criteria of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN (Category II National Parks). The findings indicate that the creation of protected areas need the participation of stakeholders to address so-called wicked problems that arise between diverse social needs and science based expert knowledge. Findings contribute to the operationalization of the Triple Helix Twins (THT) model for analysing policy impact and transformational governance. We recommend to employ the Triple Helix Twins for future comparative research of the transition from high level concept to local realization.

Abstract

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gives policy recommendations based on scientific research and agreed climate targets. We outline the concepts and requirements for implementing the sustainability goals. The Triple Helix Twin model is tested as method to analyze the governance of environmental policy formation and implementation. The model is applied to the controversial case of creating the large-scale natural area Northern Park Black Forest in Germany in the period of 2011 to 2014. The protected zone was set up employing criteria of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN (Category II National Parks). The findings indicate that the creation of protected areas need the participation of stakeholders to address so-called wicked problems that arise between diverse social needs and science based expert knowledge. Findings contribute to the operationalization of the Triple Helix Twins (THT) model for analysing policy impact and transformational governance. We recommend to employ the Triple Helix Twins for future comparative research of the transition from high level concept to local realization.

1 Introduction

New Conservation challenges existing governance frameworks i.e., science-based and eco-centric paradigms in environmental conservation and Category I National Parks where human activity is completely excluded (Sutherland et al., 2018; IUCN 2021) and proposes a more people-centered approach for protection of nature (Kareiva and Marvier, 2012; Mace, 2014). This paradigm shift underpins the debate in the diverse ecological conservation community (Sandbrook et al., 2019; Holmes et al., 2014) on how to reach climate and biodiversity goals. While, traditionally, environmental conservation proposes protection of nature from human influence, because human impact and economic growth must inevitably result in land degradation and endangered wildlife due to unsustainable practices (Taylor, 2020; Hiss, 2014), “new conservation” reintroduces human health into ecology sciences and emphasizes the value of nature and intact ecosystems for human well-being and survival (Sandbrook et al., 2019). Consequently, environmental governance (Clement, 2021) suggests an intertwined future of environmental and socio-economic systems to anticipate climate change – a future which is only sustainable on the premise of equity, stakeholder participation and policy adaptation (Leach et al., 2018).

In this present study on redefining a managed forest into a National Park Triple Helix Twins is operationalized and tested as an analytical model (Etzkowitz and Zhou, 2006). It is an extension of the classic Triple Helix model that includes the public in an alternative triad that acts as a regulator on the original model. Triple Helix Twins is characterized by a balance between innovation and sustainability and provides a means for developing innovation pathways to achieve sustainability objectives. Through the sub-concept of “consensus space” it provides a stakeholder driven design principle for the generation of topics that question existing routines and governance and it provides a modus operandi for system building in innovation that starts with controversy, mutually blockading interests or a missing transformation path to generate new syntheses drawing upon the two wings of the Triple Helix Twins to generate novel social and technological innovations (Etzkowitz and Zhou 2017). The Yin (university-government-public] Triple Helix modifies a classical Yang (university-industry-government) Triple Helix interaction – providing a sustainability grounded innovation theory and practice (Zhou and Etzkowitz, 2021).

The first phase is exemplified by the controversy that is inherent in the revised concept of National Parks: from being secluded places for the protection of pristine nature, which exclude and expropriate local stakeholders, to becoming an evidence-based ecosystem service concept designed and managed by local stakeholders within a new environmental governance framework. In the case of creating the Northern National Park Black Forest it is analysed how new environmental policy in the German Bundesland Baden-Württemberg first promoted and then reduced the primacy of science and challenged the institutionalized interrelationship of science and government, and put ecology policy on the research agenda of social science.

The following section discusses the literature on (1) national parks as a traditionally government driven and top-down initiative, illustrates (2) conflicting values in conservation and academia, introduces the (3) altered agenda towards participation in ecological policy and outlines (4) governance issues to build the framing for transformation. The next section places the case within the Triple Helix framework and outlines how the Triple Helix Twins contributes to closing the research gap in transformational governance research and how it is operationalized in a transformational governance model for analysing the case. The data collection methods are then outlined. The next section presents the case describing the situation and conflicts in Baden-Württemberg prior to the formal establishment of the National Park and the altered approach after the culmination of conflict and outlines the resulting park design, governance model and the altered science agenda. The findings are then discussed concerning the adequacy of the THT as a transformational governance model for ecology policy impact analysis. The chapter concludes by presenting the avenues for future research in the governance of ecological transitions.

2 Literature Review

2.1 Protection of Nature in National Parks as Top-Down Government Projects

The protection of land is a recurring theme in conservation and originally followed a distinct pattern of top-down policy-making to deliver ecosystem services such as fresh water and air quality, and tourism for nearby cities or as recreational resorts (Spenceley 2017). Thus, for example, in the beginning of the 19th century, population growth in Rio de Janeiro initiated a period of intense deforestation and commercialization of the tropical forest. After 1750, the forests on the surrounding slopes of Rio de Janeiro were used by large commercial agriculture (sugarcane and timber). The city grew rapidly hereafter due to four important factors: discovery of other and precious stones inside the colony; increasing the traffic to and from the port of Rio de Janeiro, and increasing the size of the port, for the transport of products; a decline in the share of sugarcane in the colony’s economy and the growth of the importance of coffee with the increase in number of plantations on the slopes of the city of Rio de Janeiro; and the arrival of the Portuguese royal family in 1808 following the invasion of Portugal by Napoleonic troops, bringing with it 20,000 people, a population growth of the city of 25%. As a consequence, the city faced severe water supply problems in 1824, 1829, 1833 and 1844 (Drummont, 1998). To reverse this situation, in 1861 Dom Pedro II, Emperor of Brazil, declared the freshwater catchment area a protected forest – albeit in the absence of a lengthy citizen consultation process. It was the first such park created in the world. He started a top-down process of expropriation of farms, with the objective of promoting reforestation and providing for the natural regeneration of vegetation. In 13 years, more than 100,000 trees were planted, most of the species used being endemic in the region. Today, Tijuca National Park is one of the largest urban forest parks, covering an area of 39.51 square kilometres. Tijuca National Park differs from the other 68 Brazilian national parks precisely because it is within a large metropolitan area.1 Equally, Africa has been re-zoning land for protection of wildlife and nature with little concern for the livelihoods of farmers, indigenous people and pastoralist communities (Mbaria, 2016; Idrissou et.al., 2013; Ngoka and Lameed, 2012).

As a general rule, in the 19th century protected areas were started top down by national governments, as with the Tijuca National Park in Brazil where the need was to provide water services to the growing city and urban citizens. In Southern Africa, the Kruger National Park established by Paul Kruger, the President of the Transvaal, in 1898, became a disputed heritage symbol of a “white safari” nation (Glenn, 2021; Carruthers 1995). In these large-scale government projects and in some charity-based projects initiated by wealthy families, local people and small-scale subsistence farmers found themselves without either a voice or a stake in the design of national parks and were confronted with the loss of their livelihoods (Mbaria, 2016). On the other side, national parks in the US like the Yosemite National Park, first protected in 1864 under an Act signed by Abraham Lincoln and handed over to the State of California to manage, were the result of popular pressure from environmental activists of the era using photography of the Park’s iconic scenery (Pappas, 2003). Equally, Yellowstone 1874, established in the Wyoming Territory before it achieved statehood was the first direct national park and a bottom-up social movement that pushed government to act to achieve its goals. These US Parks were controversy and US citizen driven but with little respect to the First Nations tribes living there.

Approaches in New Conservation question the exclusive top-down approach. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA, 2005) carried out a collaborative study in which indigenous communities and scientists developed common visions of future development in and for protected areas. In 2007, IPCC saw a new role of local and indigenous knowledge in adaptation to climate change and in sustainability (IPCC, 2007) and identified many initiatives for a different governance of protected places (Johnson, 1992; Reid et al., 2006; Sutherland et al., 2005; Twinomugisha, 2005). New developments attempt to use the conceptual framework of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), which proposes a transparent and participatory construction process and explicitly includes diverse scientific disciplines, stakeholders, and knowledge systems, including indigenous and local knowledge (Díaz et al., 2015).

2.2 The Protection of Nature: Ecological Conservation as an Academic Battlefield

The sixth report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2022) offers high level science and evidence-based policy recommendations to support national governments in place-based policy implementation (Barca 2019). The main objectives are reaching the global targets of a 1.5° Celsius increase in global temperature and implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the Aichi targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD, 2020; Mace, Norris and Fitter, 2012; Wilhere, 2021). For the CBD, Dinerstein et al. (2019) propose a science-driven approach for saving biodiversity in pairing the 1.5-degree targets of the Paris Climate Agreement with a Global Deal for Nature (GDN) “that targets 30% of Earth to be formally protected and an additional 20% designated as climate stabilization areas, by 2030” (Dinerstein et al., 2019). The formal protection of land follows the categorization of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN): National Parks of Category II are defined as “Large natural or near natural areas set aside to protect large-scale ecological processes, along with the complement of species and ecosystems characteristic of the area, which also provide a foundation for environmentally and culturally compatible spiritual, scientific, educational, recreational and visitor opportunities.” (IUCN 2021).

Following the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972, the depletion of natural resources and the consequences of economic development and unsustainable behaviour became part of documents and projects of international organizations and national governments. The Brundtland Report Our Common Future defined the concept of sustainable development as [one that] “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Holden et al., 2014; World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987). It reflects concern that a balance should be reached between economic growth, environment protection and social well-being (Holden et al., 2014).

Twenty years later, at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992, global environmental problems were again discussed. At this conference, 178 countries adopted Agenda 21, an action plan to develop partnerships and enable Sustainable Development, with each country being committed to reflecting, globally and locally, on how governments, science, companies and non-governmental organizations and all sectors of society could cooperate in the study and creation of solutions to social and environmental problems. Collaborative work between the United Nations and the various countries led to the definition The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015, when the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG s) were defined (UN, 2015). Equally, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment underlines the relevance of ecosystem services and biodiversity for connecting people and nature (MEA, 2005).

With conflicting targets, such as economic growth versus protection of nature, and reaching the climate goals in a fossil fuel dependent society the road map of poor countries to economic prosperity became unclear and the trade-off between economic growth, social equity and environmental sustainability started to divide the conservation community. As a consequence, different conservation “schools” materialized and conservation initiated a discourse on how to implement the SDG agenda.

The traditional eco-centric and science driven side of conservation still provides the framing for national park concepts of IUCN category I (IUCN 2021). Holden (2017) and Ang and Van Passel (2012) argue that, next to satisfying human needs and ensuring social equity, conservation must be respectful of environmental limits. Eco-centric traditionalists such as Soulé (Taylor, 2020) extend this argument further and point out that there is no empirical evidence that affection for nature will grow with well-being. In their view, the services humans obtain from ecosystems, and the direct and indirect contributions of ecosystems to human well-being, depend on ecosystem functioning and biodiversity to support the multiple benefits to humans (TEEB, 2010). Thus, in eco-centrism, protection and re-establishment of biodiversity remains the first (and only) priority for all conservation activities. The condition of science-led eco-centrism is that conservation goals should be based strictly on science.

One new paradigm is people-centered conservation and critical social science (Sandbrook et al., 2019; Tallis and Lubchenco, 2014), whose representatives believe that giving a voice to those affected by conservation action is an ethical imperative. This inclusive conservation school criticizes the outcome that people are to be displaced to make space for protected areas. These approaches are considered in the New Conservation school that links human well-being and ecosystem health and promotes the ecological stewardship of local stakeholders (Rapport et al., 1998).

A third stream is conservation through capitalism. Traditional eco-centric conservation scholars see economic growth as a driver of threats to biodiversity (Soulé, 2013) and disagree with the statement that conservation will only be a durable success if it has the support of corporations (Sandbrook et al., 2019). Other authors – for instance, Georgina Mace – state that “conservation needs long term commitment” (Mace, 2014) and public engagement which is juxtaposed to short-term private shareholder value and rent seeking. Many authors fear that economic arguments for conservation are risky because they can lead to unintended consequences and hazards for the protection of ecosystem integrity (Sandbrook et al., 2019).

These ideological shifts underline that science is not ultima ratio: in the view of New Conservatism and social scientists, scientific facts need to be accepted and conveyed in the logic of a societal discourse. Scientific results are socially constructed – similar to an evolutionary process (Fleck, 1980). Local communities manage their own resources (Sandbrook et al., 2019) – but on the basis of education, knowledge, ethical values and the wish for social mobility and economic well-being. These values are embedded in new approaches for protected zones with a new focus on inclusions of indigenous groups (Mace, 2014).

2.3 Environmental Governance: Bridging the Sciences and Managing the Transition

Governance is a new topic in ecology studies and an important one (Clement, 2021). All conservation approaches outlined above, have in common the problem that both the governance model to operationalize the policy agenda on the basis of ethical design principles such as sustainability, equality and access, and the process of implementation, are not clear.

New framings in the governance of sustainable development (Holden et al., 2017; Hickey and Mohan, 2004; Clement, 2021) challenge “[…] who decides, how decisions are made, and where and why we intervene” (Clement, 2021). Thus, environmental governance advances alongside long-term developments and needs to cope with highly dynamic processes as well as with unexpected findings and events in the process of realization. Integration of many different stakeholders such as experts and citizens over a long period can facilitate implementation, but it is a difficult management task. Furthermore, the emotional aspects, in terms of land use/loss, the fear of irreversible decisions and the insufficiency of methods to cope with the inherent social and technical complexity, add up to a journey and navigation into the unknown (Nikolakis and Innes 2020).

In that context, Lindblom’s Muddling Through is an organizational model of incremental policy-making (Howlett and Migone, 2015). It describes the formal and informal iterative political decision-making and consultative processes aiming at building feasible solutions and political compromises in accordance with political agendas and legal rules. However, the approach is characterized by slow decision-making within institutional structures and informal bypasses, and a lack of transparency for outsiders. In that respect, public administration and formalized politically-influenced regulations are regarded as bureaucratic obstructions rather than as an adequate support structure for transformation (Seibel, 2020). Clement illuminates that point well: “Sometimes governance may be so dysfunctional that it must transform, but intentionally pursuing such radical change is unlikely to succeed unless many different factors come together at the same time” (Clement, 2021: 75).

One way to mitigate these procedural shortcomings is the inclusion of those who have a self-understanding of protecting the landscape in the best way, live off the land, and are directly involved in land conversion (Mace, 2014; Adams and Hutton, 2007). Accordingly, “Participative Governance” becomes a crucial but, equally, challenging element in environmental governance (Baasch and Blöbaum, 2017). Another new feature of the highly institutionalized and formalized processes in Western Democracies is the timely and voluntary disclosure of in