Does the gender composition of forest and fishery management groups affect resource governance and conservation outcomes? A systematic map.
Women often use natural resources differently than men yet frequently have minimal influence on how local resources are managed. An emerging hypothesis is that empowering more women in local resource decision-making may lead to better resource governance and conservation. Here we focus on the forestry and fisheries sectors to answer the question: What is the evidence that the gender composition of forest and fisheries management groups affects resource governance and conservation outcomes? We present a systematic map detailing the geographic and thematic extent of the evidence base and assessing the quality of the evidence, as per a published a priori protocol.
We screened 11,000+ English-language records in Scopus, CAB abstracts, AGRIS, AGRICOLA, Google Scholar, and Google. The websites of 24 international conservation and development organisations, references of included articles, and relevant systematic reviews were also searched for possible documents. A number of groups and individuals were invited to submit documents through email ‘call outs’. The inclusion criteria were that an article refers to women or gender, forests or fisheries, and a resource management group comparison in a non-OECD country plus Mexico and Chile.
Seventeen studies met the inclusion criteria. Four were qualitative and 13 were quantitative. Forest studies outnumbered fisheries studies 14–3. The majority of the studies came from India and Nepal and focused on forest management. All 17 studies identified improvements in local natural resource governance, and three identified conservation improvements when women participated in the management of the resources. Only two studies, however, were rated as high quality based on study design.
For India and Nepal, there is strong and clear evidence of the importance of including women in forest management groups for better resource governance and conservation outcomes. Outside of India and Nepal, there are substantial gaps in the evidence base, but the South Asian evidence presents a compelling case for extending the research to other geographies to see if similar outcomes exist elsewhere and supports a theory of change linking the participation of women in forestry and fisheries management groups with better resource governance and conservation outcomes.
Community based Conservation, Equity, Gender mainstreaming, Livelihoods, Sustainability, Systematic review
In the fields of environmental governance and biodiversity conservation, there is a growing awareness that gender has an influence on resource use and management. Several studies argue that empowering women in resource governance can lead to beneficial outcomes for resource sustainability and biodiversity conservation. Yet how robust is the evidence to support this claim? Here we focus on the forestry and fisheries sectors to answer the primary question: What is the evidence that the gender composition of forest and fishery management groups affects resource governance and conservation outcomes? Our objective is to produce a systematic map of the evidence highlighting, inter alia, the geographic distribution and quality of the evidence, the consistency and robustness of the findings, and where further research is needed.
This protocol provides the details of the methodology. The search terms used to identify relevant articles were developed in an iterative process using the phraseology of the primary question, Boolean operators, and a list of synonyms for each term. The search terms will be used to identify relevant articles in CAB Abstracts, Scopus, AGRIS, AGRICOLA, Google Scholar, and Google. A test library of 12 articles will ensure that the search captures the relevant literature. Searches will be in English but will not be restricted by publication date. The websites of 22 international organisations with a known interest in gender-related issues will be screened for relevant documents. The gender-focussed researchers at large conservation NGOs, the members of the Poverty and Conservation Learning Group, and the members of the Gender and Environment Working Group will be invited to submit relevant documents. The list of references of included articles will be screened to identify other relevant articles in a ‘backwards snowballing’ approach. The inclusion criteria are that an article refers to women or gender, forests or fisheries, a resource management group, a quantitative comparison, and an environmental governance or biodiversity conservation outcome in a non-OECD country. A data extraction template with 27 variables will be used to assess the included articles. The output will be a narrative report with descriptive statistics and an evidence-gap map.