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Resilience-Based Framework for Evaluating Joint Forest Management in Flanders

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Dedeurwaerdere, Tom
Conference: Governing Shared Resources: Connecting Local Experience to Global Challenges, the Twelfth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Commons
Location: Cheltenham, England
Conf. Date: July 14-18, 2008
Date: 2008
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/354
Sector: Forestry
Subject(s): forest management--evaluation
Joint Forest Management
Abstract: "In this paper, an innovative policy scheme for sustainable forest management in Flanders is presented. This scheme favours a mechanism based on social learning and collaborative planning within joint forest management (JFM) organisations, the so-called 'bosgroepen'. In 2007 seventeen JFM organisations are operating in Flanders as non-profit organisations or as recognized pilot projects, each covering a region with 4000 to 10000 ha forest land. These organisations have been successful in involving private and public forest owners in self-organised collective management of the forest on a voluntary basis, within selected forestry complexes that are characterized by a very high degree of fragmentation. Why was this innovative scheme successful? And what are its shortcomings and possible limitations? In order to answer this question, we adopt in this paper a resilience based framework for evaluation. The originality of the resilience based framework for evaluation resides in the focus on the reflexivity of the evaluation enterprise. Indeed, the resilience of certain social-ecological systems may not be desirable. Moreover, efforts to define resilience must be situated in the context of contested and evolving human interests. Because of this normative character of resilience, evaluation is both a retrospective tool that allows adjustment of management choices and a forward looking tool which provides direction to the adaptive experimentation process. In this paper, we argue that the JFM organisations have been able to address the challenge of the transition to sustainable forestry, evaluate their governance mechanisms and analyse their limitations. In particular, we show that the recourse to a set of quantitative criteria and indicators as a management tool within the JFM organisation allows to have a precise view of the evolution of the processes of collaboration and social learning, which are crucial to building resilience in coupled social-ecological systems."

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