The collaborative management of mobile ecological resources across landscapes can provide many benefits at the societal level, but can also face considerable stakeholder opposition. Wild deer are one example of a range of ecological resources, whether individual species, habitats or ecosystem services, for which management at a landscape scale is likely to be far more effective than the single-site approaches favoured (and incentivised) to date. Determining the most appropriate mechanism to encourage collaboration depends on an understanding of the ecological, geographical, socio-economic and cultural contexts within which management decisions are made. In this paper, we employ a mixed-methods approach to quantify and explain UK deer managers’ preferences for different collaborative mechanisms and financial incentives, accounting for socio-economic and regional differences. We show that deer managers would regard a mandatory collaboration scheme as undesirable in the majority of regions covered in our study but that managers’ responses to proposed financial incentives for participation in mandatory collaboration were more positive in those regions where stakeholders had prior experience of existing payment schemes for modifying land use and wildlife management. Future collaboration in deer management in the UK is likely to be promoted most effectively if incorporated as part of existing environmental management schemes and in a sufficiently flexible manner to accommodate geographical and cultural contexts. Our study illustrates how mixed-methods approaches can be used to identify the opportunities and constraints associated with the wider uptake of collaboration in the management of mobile ecological resources.
- Choice experiment
- Focus group