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Already Adaptive? Lessons from a Pilot Study of Management of Fish and Wildlife

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Wennberg DiGasper, Sofia
Conference: The Commons in an Age of Global Transition: Challenges, Risks and Opportunities, the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Oaxaca, Mexico
Conf. Date: August 9-13
Date: 2004
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/1183
Sector: Wildlife
Fisheries
Region: Europe
Subject(s): IASC
natural resources
fisheries
wildlife
resource management
Abstract: "The issue of sustainable management of natural resources is currently in focus in all areas and by many governments in the world. Adaptive management has been suggested as means for sustainable utilization of natural resources and through an increase of social ecological resilience. Adaptive management is based on the assumption of ecosystems as complex systems where the only thing certain is that there will always be surprises. There are two lines of research within the adaptive management approach that if implemented would demand different institutional frameworks. The first line of research view adaptive management as integration of parts and is based on processes of model building ecosystems done in cooperation between scientists and resource managers. Gaps in the "state of the art" biological/ecological knowledge are believed to be filled by conducting experiments in actual ecosystems. The other line of research is based on the assumption that there already are adaptive management systems in place. For example tribes and other user groups monitor ecosystems and adjust management decisions to changes detected and therefore they have been able to build ecological and social resilience, which entails that the system can adjust to changes smoothly and that there are a constant learning process occurring. "The Swedish government has declared its intention to implement adaptive management regarding management of moose and fish but has not specified how this should be accomplished. In this report the adaptive management and its two lines of research are contrasted with conventional resource management. A pilot case study was performed on moose harvesting administrative units and a river administrative organization analyzing whether features of the different management approaches were present and what institutional changes would be required for implementing large scale adaptive management. The study indicated that there are significant signs of adaptive management already in place in Swedish moose and terrestrial fishing units. It is concluded that decentralization of decision-making over moose and terrestrial fish have contributed to changes in management practices which are now more adaptive than during the previous top-down regulations. A value shift from viewing fish only as a food value to viewing fish as a hobby exercised through sport fishing and as a tourist potential has also influenced management practices significantly and led to resource users spending more time and effort in trying to improve and protect fish. Still however forest companies management practices regarding moose administration resembled conventional resource management to a greater degree than adaptive management. The conclusion follows that the property rights structure strongly influences implementation of adaptive management. "If the Swedish government intends to implement adaptive management, consideration has to be taken to administrative units where there already are adaptive management features in place. Perhaps the goal of the Swedish government should be to strengthened already existing institutions promoting adaptive management practices."

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