Helping to Adapt? NGOs Influence on the Resilience of a Cultural Landscape from Transylvania, Romania - A Comparative Analysis-
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Within the recent years interest in rural cultural landscapes have been rising, given the many public benefits associated with their governance. This is prompted by a growing awareness of the human dependence on ecosystem services and the dangers posed by increasing resource consumption, pollution and urbanization. Cultural landscapes are the expression of the dynamic interaction between natural and cultural forces in the environment. In Europe, after centuries of agricultural practice, there are virtually no pristine areas left and much of biodiversity depends on the functioning of a particular type of socio-ecological systems where mutuality between human and ecosystem components is high in systems of low-intensity agriculture. External actors work to conserve the benefits deriving from these systems of traditional agriculture that have created High Nature Value landscapes. Conducting cross-scale institutional analysis through comparative case study research, this study examines the influence of NGOs on the adaptive capacity of two rural communities located in the Saxon cultural landscape of Southern Transylvania, Romania, which is both a High Nature Value area and a Natura 2000 site. The focus is laid on the socio-cultural element considered determinant for the state of the biophysical environment. Theoretical argument is formulated on a systems-oriented literature that regards environmental governance as the institutional interface between ecological and human systems.The IAD framework was adapted to study the conservation of the Saxon cultural landscape due to its conceptual clarity and applicability to studies across various institutional levels, as it is the current case. The comparative analysis of two selected communities has identified a number of correlations between independent and outcome variables, allowing for possible causal relations to be determined.