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Adaptive Management and Social Learning in Collaborative and Community-Based Monitoring: A Study of Five Community-Based Forestry Organizations in the western USA

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Fernandez-Gimenez, Maria E.; Ballard, Heidi; Sturtevant, Victoria E.
Journal: Ecology and Society
Volume: 13
Date: 2008
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/3213
Sector: Social Organization
Region: North America
Subject(s): adaptive systems
monitoring and sanctioning
community participation
social-ecological systems
social behavior
Abstract: "Collaborative and community-based monitoring are becoming more frequent, yet few studies have examined the process and outcomes of these monitoring approaches. We studied 18 collaborative or community-based ecological assessment or monitoring projects undertaken by five community-based forestry organizations (CBFs), to investigate the objectives, process, and outcomes of collaborative ecological monitoring by CBF organizations. We found that collaborative monitoring can lead to shared ecological understanding among diverse participants, build trust internally and credibility externally, foster social learning and community-building, and advance adaptive management. The CBFs experienced challenges in recruiting and sustaining community participation in monitoring, building needed technical capacity for monitoring, and communicating monitoring results back to the broader community. Our results suggest that involving diverse and sometimes adversarial interests at key points in the monitoring process can help resolve conflicts and advance social learning, while also strengthening the link between social and ecological systems by improving the information base for management and increasing collective awareness of the interdependence of human and natural forest communities."

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