Environmental Conservation

THEMATIC ISSUE: Interdisciplinary Progress in Environmental Science & Management

Crossing boundaries for environmental science and management: combining interdisciplinary, interorganizational and international collaboration

STEPHEN G. PERZa1 c1, SILVIA BRILHANTEa2, I. FOSTER BROWNa3, ANDREA CHAVEZ MICHAELSENa4, ELSA MENDOZAa5, VERONICA PASSOSa6, RAUL PINEDOa7, JUAN FERNANDO REYESa8, DANIEL ROJASa9 and GALIA SELAYAa9

a1 Department of Sociology and Criminology and Law, 3219 Turlington Hall, University of Florida, PO Box 117330, Gainesville FL 32611-7330, USA

a2 SOS Amazonia, Rua Pará 61, Cadeia Velha, Rio Branco, Acre CEP 69900-440, Brazil

a3 Woods Hole Research Center, 149 Woods Hole Road, Falmouth MA 02540, USA

a4 Universidad Nacional Amazónica de Madre de Dios, Av. Dos de Mayo No. 960, Puerto Maldonado, Madre de Dios, Peru

a5 Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazônia, Avenida Nazaré 669, Belém, Pará CEP 66035-170, Brazil

a6 Universidade Federal do Acre, Rodovia Br-364 Km 4, Distrito Industrial, Rio Branco, Acre CEP 69915-900, Brazil

a7 Proyecto Especial Madre de Dios, Jr. San Martin S/W, Iberia, Madre de Dios, Peru

a8 Herencia, Calle Civica No. 47, Barrio Miraflores, Cobija, Pando, Bolivia

a9 Universidad Amazónia de Pando, Calle Enrique Cornejo No. 77, Cobija, Pando, Bolivia

SUMMARY

Literature on environmental science and management endorses crossing boundaries between disciplines, types of organizations and countries for environmental conservation. A literature review on interdisciplinarity, interorganizational networks and international cooperation highlights their justifying rationales and strategic practices. Crossing boundaries implies substantial challenges to managing collaboration itself, notably politics and uncertainty. Challenges to collaboration become compounded when crossing multiple boundaries simultaneously, here illustrated using the case of three projects in the south-western Amazon. Strategic practices such as net brokering and organizational courtships are highly important when crossing multiple boundaries. There are important commonalities in strategic practices for crossing different boundaries, such as recognizing grievances to manage politics, constituting functional redundancies in networks to manage uncertainty and non-aligned collaboration to manage both difficulties.

(Received January 04 2010)

(Accepted July 02 2010)

(Online publication November 22 2010)

Correspondence

c1 Correspondence: Dr Stephen Perz e-mail: sperz@ufl.edu