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Social-Ecological Systems Meta-Analysis Database: Variables

Variable TypeOrdinal
Variable Component TypeActor
Variable KindComponent
ThemeHeterogeneity (learn about themes)
QuestionHow much do the interests of the members of this group diverge from each other?
Select Options1 Low, 2 Medium, 3 High
ImportanceInterest heterogeneity has been associated with uncooperative behavior and distrust among resource users (Poteete and Ostrom 2004). That said, empirical evidence shows that the relationship between heterogeneity and collective CPR management is complex and depends on the criteria used to measure heterogeneity as well as on other mediating variables (Poteete and Ostrom 2004, Velded 2000, Varughese and Ostrom 2001).

"This variable captures the extent to which differences in interests in this group create identifiable subgroups each with its own preferred use and management strategy for the commons. What would benefit one subgroup would be less benefical or costly to others. The existence of heterogeneity of interests can be based on political, economic and cultural sources. The existence of political, economic and cultural heterogeneities within a group, however, does not necessarily entail the existence of heterogeneity of interests with regard to resource use. High: Actors have substantially different interests with respect to the use and management of the commons. It benefits different actor groups to use it in different (and conflicting) ways. Low: Actors have very similar interests with respect to the use and management of the commons. There are few conflicts produced by the different uses and management strategies of the different actors."


Theory Usages

TheoryValue Used
Social diversity and general resilienceHigh
Conditions for general resilienceHigh
Community-based natural resource management (CBNRM)Low
Interest heterogeneity and collective actionHigh

Associated Studies

Study Citation

Component Usages

ComponentValue UsedExplanation
Galapagos Artisan FishermenMedium (2)Variety of fishers spread across different islands
"New Order" Indonesian Central Government (1965-1998)Medium (2)Although the members of the central government all had an interest in maintaining central control over forest resources, it appears that there was some differences between concession holders (often powerful members of the military) and the forest department over how forests should be managed.
California Sanctuary Recreational UsersHigh (3)Many recreational users desire the same area (e.g. boaters and divers) and many users seek conflicting purposes of the sanctuary (e.g. recreational fishermen and kayakers).
California Groundfish FishermenLow (1)In general, groundfish fishermen have the same interest in promoting economically viable fisheries. While many use trawling methods, there is also fishermen who focus on troll, longline, hook and line, pots, gillnets, and other gear. They are limited entry and compete against each other. To minimize individual risk, risk pools are created where fishermen combine quotas to help each other not overfish and to maintain their activities.
California State and Federal Fisheries AgenciesLow (1)The CDFW and PFMC groundfish regulators are focused on the same goals and are guided by the same principles outlined in the Magnuson-Stevens Conservation and Management Act (1976, the primary law governing US fisheries), and the fisheries federal management plans. While the state focuses on those species found only within state waters, all groundfish fisheries are managed to prevent overfishing, protect the broader ecosystem, rebuild overfished stocks, promote long term economic and social benefits, allow for safe and sustainable seafood. The primary difference is whether the stocks are solely in state waters, or if they migrate past the 3 nautical mile line.
Misool Eco ResortLow (1)The main goal of the Misool Eco Resort is to promote conservation and sustainable ecotourism within the Misool marine reserve, part of the greater Raja Ampat MPA network. The Misool team is made up of 165 individuals, ranging from the hotel staff to dive/activities team. Sister charity, the Misool Foundation,
Indonesian "Adat" Communities There are some highly publicized conflicts within and between villages, often labelled as inter-ethnic conflicts between some of the more than 1000 ethnic groups in Indonesia, such as those in East Timor, Central and West Kalimantan, Central Sulawesi, Papua and the Malukus. This may be considered evidence of interest heterogeneity between the broad spectrum of groups considered as adat communities. Government data indicate that the number of village-level conflicts throughout Indonesia, as of 2002, was quite low - only 7% of villages- though some regions had much higher prevalence of conflict, such as Aceh (23% of villages), Maluku (15%), and NTB (14%), and there is significant underreporting in this data (Barron, Kaiser and Pradhan 2004). Aside from their presence, the factors driving these conflicts is also evidence of interest heterogeneity: endowment inequality and lack of dominance of a single ethnic group (though not ethnic diversity per se) are associated to conflict (Barron et al. 2004). On the other hand, there is ongoing collaboration between ethnic groups through e.g. AMAN, and thus heterogeneity cannot be that large to prevent cooperation. Note that the heterogeneity of interests becomes larger if we compare the interest of adat communities with those of the state, as evidenced by AMAN's constituting statement in 1999 -“If the state will not acknowledge us, then we will not acknowledge the state"- and the multiple struggles between adat communities sand state-approved forest projects, such as timber concessions, mining and palm oil plantations.
Large Extractive Industries in IndonesiaMedium (2)Coal mining companies, logging companies, and plantation industries (pulp, oil palm) all have very different structures, and may even have different views of the forest (i.e. logging companies may prefer land to remain as forest as opposed to be converted to other uses in the long run), however they all have a common interest in maintaining access to forest land for commercial extraction.
Indonesian Local entrepreneursHigh (3)I think this should be medium or high, but I lack evidence?
Indonesian District Governments Missing in case. We have little evidence of interest divergence or convergence about district governments. It is also unclear if this question refers to the divergence of interests of individual actors within the same district government, or whether this refers to the divergence of interests between different district governments (which, although we have no evidence, we suppose to be fairly high given the overall levels of heterogeneity between different regions of Indonesia).
"Reformasi" Indonesian Central Government (1998-2012)High (3)The new government has been characterized by conflicts about the use of forest resources between different interests in different agencies (e.g. Forest vs. Agriculture), between different levels (central, provincial, and district governments) and between old and new elites within the government. For instance, after a few years of the new Reformasi government, McCarthy (2004) characterized the legal and political structure of the new decentralized governance system as a set of "volatile socio-legal configurations" with multiple contradictory interests concerning resource management. Brockhaus et al. (2012) also conclude in their analysis of forest and land allocation policies that there is a "lack of institutional clarity" and lack of coordination between agencies with different, conflicting objectives and mandates regarding resource management. An internationally-famous example is the conflicting proposals that since the 1990s until 2008 were debated in a region of East Kalimantan: on one hand, a national park i -part of the famous "Heart of Borneo" conservation initiative- promoted by global environmental NGOs and supported by the Ministry of Forestry, and on the other, a proposal for the largest palm oil plantation in the world (approx. 2 million ha) promoted by the Governor of East Kalimantan and supported by the Ministry of Agriculture (Potter, 2009). While these heterogeneities may have existed under Suharto, they were controlled and reduced by his centralized dictatorial system. As described by McLeod (2005): "With Soeharto's demise, Indonesia gained democracy but lost effective government....This franchise (the Suharto government) has disintegrated, its various component parts now working at cross-purposes rather than in mutually reinforcing fashion."
Civil society organizations in Indonesia ? See Peluso 2008 article
ICCAT Contracting Parties High (3)Interests among group members vary along several dimensions. This includes the variations in the magnitude of ABFT fishing operations, whether they are consumers (mostly Japan) or simply appropriators (the rest). Reliance on tuna by fishermen also vary considerably across countries, with greater reliance in Spain in particular.
ICCAT Western MembersMedium (2)Interests among group members vary along several dimensions. For Western members the most significant source of heterogeneity is their role as a consumer (Japan) vs. producer (Canada, USA and Japan).
ICCAT Eastern MembersHigh (3)Interests among group members vary along several dimensions. This includes the variations in the magnitude of ABFT fishing operations, whether they are consumers (mostly Japan) or simply appropriators (the rest). Reliance on tuna by fishermen also vary considerably across countries, with greater reliance in Spain in particular.
Ozone Nation States High (3)
Ozone Depleting Substance Industrial ProducersMedium (2)
Ozone SecretariatLow (1)The key difference is the extent to which signatory nations can afford alternatives to ODS if they are expensive.
ICPR nations (1976-1986)High (3)There is a clear distinction between upstream polluters (France and Germany) and downstream users (mostly The Netherlands)
ICPR nations (1986-2000)Medium (2)Polarization of interests between upstream and downstream nations was moderated by a common concern about the political costs of not addressing the pollution problem (increased public awareness after oil spill disaster) as well as common goals of river and salmon restoration (in addition to the pollution abatement goals).
Rhine chemical firmsLow (1)Chemical corporations all emit heavy metals as part of their basic production processes.
Rhine agricultural sectorLow (1)The relatively high dependence on fertilizer and pesticides is homogeneous across agricultural activities
GBR government co-managersLow (1)The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service are governed by parallel mandates with very similar objectives and targets for management. They are both essentially focused on protecting biodiversity of the reef.
GBR recreational fishersLow (1)Recreational fishers range from those who fish once and year to those who fish much more regularly. However, they group as a whole have similar interests in terms of what they want from governance of the GBRMP.
Wetfish Fishermen 
GBR fisheries managersLow (1)Consensus achieved through agreement and buying into organisational goals
GBR commercial fishersLow (1)In general, their interests in promoting economically viable fisheries would be homogenous. On occasion they are faced with different threats to their sectors but overall their interests would be similar.
National Marine Sanctuaries Office of NOAALow (1)The Sanctuary office is split into distinct teams, resource protection, education & outreach, and research & monitoring. While these are different interests, collaboration is high amongst them and they are all interested in following the guidelines of the Sanctuary Management Plans. There is an office dedicated to the joint management of these "West Coast Sanctuaries" to ensure interests align and coordination efforts are enhanced.
Raja Ampat TourismLow (1)Majority dive tourism
Australian Toothfish FishersLow (1)Toothfish fishing rights are held by a small number of operators. At Macquarie Island and Heard and McDonald Islands, rights are held by 2 companies; Austral Fisheries Pty Ltd and Australian Longline Pty Ltd. At Macquarie a maximum of three boats are allowed to operate at any one time. At the Heard and McDonald Islands, up until the 2011/12 season, three vessels were in operation per season. Between 2012/13 and 2013/14 season, four vessels were in operation.
NWHI Monument Co-Trusteeship Low (1)Although the Co-trusteeship is broken down into three different organizations (NOAA, USFWS, State of Hawaii) they all work towards the same goal of MPA management.
Wakatobi Bajau fishersLow (1)Similar patterns of resource use and livelihoods.
Wakatobi managersLow (1)Central government mandated to protect biodiversity, local government implements this aim, NGOs also working towards this aim, with a focus on relieving pressure on marine resources. No records of major conflict.
Australian Antarctic DivisionMedium (2)Depending on the department an individual works on, and depending on the individual, they may be working to further research, conservation, economic and/or political objectives. These interests may be in potential conflict (divergent) from each other.
GMR managersHigh (3)PMB composed of representatives from fishing, tourism, and conservation, which leads to conflict on interests regarding park use. PMB composed of representatives of: (1) artisan fishing sector (elected from the four Galapagos Artisan Fishing Coorperative presidents), (2) Chamber of Tourism, (3) Charles Darwin Research Station, (4) Galapagos National Park IMA is presided over by the Minister of Environment of Ecuador, and composed of the Ministries of Fishing, Tourism, and Defense. Advisory roles in the IMA are provided by the Charles Darwin Foundation and the Galapagos National Park Service. (Jones, 2013)
Riparian Nations (1976-1986) 
Charles Darwin FoundationLow (1)members of the CDF are part of the scientific research community, whose interests are in the science, conservation, and education areas.
Galapagos Tourism SectorMedium (2)A variety of different tourism ventures exist from home-stays to high end cruise ships. Tourism is considered fairly well regulated.
Raja Ampat Artisanal FishersLow (1)Primarily subsistence fishing.
CORALINALow (1)CORALINA is the decentralized regional government entity whose mission is to ensure sustainable management of natural environment and resources.
NWHI ResearchersLow (1)There are a variety of different research groups in the NWHI doing work on different projects, but overall the research interests focus on ecosystem health, biodiversity, fisheries, and other environmental aspects that apply to the MPA.
California Academic ResearchersMedium (2)The Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network (SIMoN) includes dozens of institutions and agencies that perform monitoring activities in the Gulf of Farallones, Cordell Bank, and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuaries. Most research within these three areas are conducted by university or college researchers with an ecological emphasis. Conservation groups tend to be more bias in their efforts than these academic groups, yet not to the point to warrant a high divergence of interests. Some research groups are interested in topics that are not looked at by others (e.g. deep sea ecology vs invasive species in the estuaries).
Australian Fisheries Management AuthorityLow (1)The AFMA share interests in the management of fish resources within Australian Territorial Waters
Raja Ampat ManagersMedium (2)Some divergence of interests at the start due to nature of groups: communities (food security); NGOs (conservation/food security), local governement (economic revenue) - but these are now largely convened.
Macquarie Island ManagersMedium (2)They share interests in conservation; but can and have faced disagreements over who should pay for and implement conservation activities.
Svalbard Resource ManagersLow (1)The Managers all have an interest in ensuring the regulations are being followed.
Svalbard TourismLow (1)In general, all tourism operators have an interest in providing a wilderness experience for the clients. There may be small distinctions between the ‘expedition cruises’ (which start & end in the main town of Longyearbyen and which are operated from within Svalbard) and the ‘overseas cruises’ (which visit Svalbard as part of a longer voyage and have less contact with the local villages) (Report No.22 2008-2009). Although there are different types of recreation (e.g. kayaking, cruise ship), all tourism companies recognize that the tourism business depends on maintaining wildlife populations and a pristine environment.
Seaflower artisanal fishersMedium (2)There might be differences based on gear type use and/or fishing techniques but in terms of MPA support literature suggest there was none.
Svalbard Shrimp FishersMedium (2)In general, all fishermen have an interest in making a profit from commercial fishing and having sustainable fish stocks. In the case of Svalbard, there is some heterogeneity due to the conditions in the Svalbard Treaty – that other nations are permitted to fish within Svalbard’s waters. Although the majority of shrimp fishing is by Norwegian vessels, some vessels from others countries also participate, and may be less likely to comply with Norwegian regulations.
Galapagos Charles Darwin FoundationLow (1)members of the CDF are part of the scientific research community, whose interests are in the science, conservation, and education areas.
GABMP (Commonwealth Waters) Director of National Parks Low (1)The holder of the office of Director of National Parks and 4 senior executives provide leadership in Parks Australia (Annual Report 2011 - 2012). Three senior executives are split into distinct branches: Parks and Biodiversity Science, Parks and Protected Areas Program, and Parks Operations and Tourism. In addition to the Parks Australia executive team, the fourth senior executive in the department's Marine Division is responsible, under the delegation from the Director of National Parks, for managing the Commonwealth marine reserves. Collaboration is high among the 4 executives as they are all part of the federal environment portfolio and are to support the Director. Parks Australia Executive includes the Director of National Parks and the 4 executives. Each of the branches report to the Director of National Parks.
GABMP (Commonwealth Waters) Commercial FishersLow (1)Members of this group would have similar interests in promoting economically viable fisheries, increasing profit and having sustainable fish stocks.
Cenderwasih fishersLow (1)Overall low, although different villages have different dependency on marine resources (versus farming), based on historically different tribes.
Cenderwasih managers 
Falkland Islands Government (FIG) Fisheries ManagersLow (1)Formally: Low - Managers have similar goals and are guided by the same management plan. Some divergence in that different fishery interests are in conflict with each other. One fishery wants to expand fishing grounds, where others are against that since it is nursery grounds.
Patagonian Squid TrawlersLow (1)All working together to supply Patagonian squid market
New Zealand Fishery ManagersLow (1)All following same legal framework. Interests with scientists involved differ. Managers always asking who are they representing, but generally on same side.
New Zealand Arrow Squid FishersLow (1)Likely all similar goal of maximizing squid catch. Came together for Squid Management Company and DWG because realized all common interests.
California market squid fishermenLow (1)Generally all want to be profitable. About half want to fish for the independence and being on the water, about half consider it mostly as a job. All want fishery to remain open.
Indonesian Institute of Sciences - LIPINot Applicable
California Department of Fish and Wildlife Market Squid ManagersLow (1)CPS/HMS Project Staff follow same rules and work toward same goals. Guided by same Fishery Management Plan and overarching federal goals (Magnuson Stevens Act). Some are focused more on scientific efforts, and others logistical. CPS and HMS have slightly different interests, but are generally same concerns and direction of activities.
Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio) 
Brazilian Institute of the Environment & Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA)Not Applicable
Isla Caballo AMPR Costa RicaHigh (3)
Paquera-Tambor AMPR Costa RicaMedium (2)
Secretary of State for the Environment of Pará (SEMA) in BrazilMissing
Association of Users in the Caete-Teperacu RESEX (ASSUREMACATA) in BrazilMissing
Lombok aquaculture farmersLow (1)
SCUBA diving businesses on Gili TrawanganLow (1)
Gili Indah Dive Association (GIDA)High (3)
Palito-Montero AMPR Costa RicaLow (1)
Gili EcoTrust on Gili TrawanganLow (1)