Integrating Holism and Segmentalism: Overcoming Barriers to Adaptive Co-Management between Management Agencies and Multi-Sector Bodies

"In January 2005, I and another evaluation team member,' Anita Bedo, delivered an evaluation of a three-year pilot initiative in adaptive co-management to the co-managing body, the West Coast Vancouver Island Aquatic Management Board (AMB).' This body is attempting to move towards integrated ecosystem-based management of a coastal area covering some two-thirds of the west coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. The evaluation was intended to inform not only the co-management board itself but also the four levels of government that fund and sponsor it, as the pilot project was to end in March 2005 (and to be up for renewal). The sponsoring governments are the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), the Province of British Columbia, the Regional Districts of Alberni-Clayoquot and Comox-Strathcona, and the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council. By far the most important funder (50 percent) and sponsor (because they have the legal mandate to manage most aquatic resources) was the DFO. The DFO eventually opted to continue supporting the AMB, at least for another two years beyond the three-year pilot, but their continued support and vision for the future of the AMB is uncertain. The nature of these differences exemplifies the difficulties in coordinating the perspectives of government bureaucracies and community-based (or regionally based) co-managers. This discussion explores key dimensions of these difficulties and options for overcoming them. After briefly noting how these difficulties surfaced in our evaluation and the discussion surrounding it, I review some aspects of what the literature on organizational behaviour contributes to the discussion. This review is not comprehensive but is meant to highlight key aspects relevant to adaptive co-management."
adaptive systems, co-management, ecosystems, coastal resources