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

Mark T. Imperial, Erik Johnston, Melinda Pruett-Jones, Kirsten Leong, Jennifer Thomsen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-144
Number of pages10
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


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