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In recent years, environmental stewardship has been emphasized as one solution to social-ecological sustainability concerns, especially at the local scale. The Stewardship Mapping and Assessment Project (STEW-MAP) is a national research program developed by the USDA Forest Service that has been implemented at numerous locations in the United States and internationally. This study compared the mission statements of environmental stewardship groups in the Los Angeles River Watershed to previously proposed definitions and frameworks of organizational environmental stewardship to see how well they were reflected. A thematic analysis of the mission statements was also carried out to identify locally important themes and priorities. Results show that, although often consistent, the mission statements do not always reflect existing concepts around environmental stewardship. Additionally, environmental stewardship is not always explicit in the mission statements of organizations that are known to conduct these activities. We suggest that non-traditional groups that engage in stewardship work (i.e., research institutions) as well as groups focused on social issues are overlooked actors in sustainable city goals. A more comprehensive definition of environmental stewardship may be needed to bridge the gap between research and practice.

Publisher Statement

This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2023

Recommended Citation

Thomas, A.S., Romolini, M. Expanding current definitions of environmental stewardship through organizational mission statement analysis. Ambio (2023).