Tuesday, September 15, 2009


PUBLICATION: Adaptive Learning in Natural Resource Management

A recent paper in IDRC’s Rural Poverty and Environment Working Paper Series examines adaptive learning approaches to the management of natural resources. The abstract:

This paper explores different approaches to applied research in natural resource management that focus on adaptive learning as an element of the resource management challenge of continuous sustainable production. The research frameworks suggested by Adaptive Management (AM), social learning, and complex adaptive systems (resilience thinking) are considered. While AM typically emphasizes natural science and ecological systems, and social learning emphasizes human agency and interaction, resilience thinking addresses social-ecological systems as complex entities that behave in dynamic and cyclical fashion. All three frameworks offer insights into practices that support learning, adaptation, and sustainability. Some of the experience in the Canadian province of British Columbia is given in example. The emerging framework of adaptive co-management offers a promising approach to capturing relevant features of the other three. These four different conceptual approaches should not be seen as mutually exclusive alternatives but rather are characterized by overlapping features with different focal strengths. To date, experience with applying any of these frameworks in practice is limited and remains a big challenge. The conceptual frameworks considered here could underpin research into more effective adaptive learning in resource management.

The full paper is available here.

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