Sustaining the useful life of network governance: Life cycles and developmental challenges


Governance networks in large-scale landscape conservation are constantly changing as their constituent programs are created, are reconfigured, or cease to exist. Here, a four-stage life-cycle model is used to outline the challenges that network members face in designing healthy and useful governance processes, and a short description of the evolution of the Chicago Wilderness Alliance helps to illustrate the dynamic nature of network governance. We deliberately use the concept of a “healthy and useful life” in place of more traditional measures of success because it highlights the constant nurturing that network processes require. The concept also draws attention to the fact that governance networks are a functional enterprise—even though they eventually come to the end of a life cycle, they most likely served useful functions while in operation.

Publication Type
Journal Article
Mark T. Imperial
Erik Johnston, Arizona State University
Melinda Pruett-Jones, Chicago Wilderness
Kirsten Leong, NOAA
Jennifer Thomsen
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment

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