Lessons learned from a computer-assisted participatory planning and management process in the Peak District National Park, England
In order to support stakeholders in adapting to socio-economic, environmental and policy pressures a group of researchers and key stakeholders joined forces to de-velop an iterative social learning process supported by computer models designed in a participatory modeling process. We report on an ongoing research project in the peak district national park, UK. This chapter details the genesis, development and operation of this approach to enabling adaptive management in a complex socio-ecological landscape. Instead of experimenting with new management ac-tivities and learning from the results of these actions, we used formal computer models to tell the stakeholders what the implications of their actions might be in terms of their own economy and also environmental effects such as different growth patterns of plant species, biodiversity, soil erosion, water quality and car-bon fluxes. Such modeling of scenario modelling is assumed to enable decision making (and eventually activity) in ‘risky’ situations, or in a context of high risk aversion. Including stakeholders in all stages of the process increases acceptance of the work and allows the inclusions of relevant multiple views and can enhance shared understanding. A flexible approach that can react to participants’ needs is a precondition. Participatory scenario modelling was found to be very useful as it enables surprises and changes in emphasis to be incorporated in the process thus providing flexibility to deal with social surprises such as linguistic ambiguity and physical surprises such as bird flue and foot and mouth disease, both of which re-appeared on the agenda during this process. We also learned that the selection of stakeholders was important based on a strong understanding of the context; as well as having a good facilitator guiding through the various participatory activities. To have a chance for the learning and adaptive management process to survive be-yond the project duration a certain set of attitudes and organisational cultures are required that can facilitate processes where goals are negotiated and outcomes are necessarily uncertain
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Book details
Klaus Hubacek
Catherine Allen
George Stankey
Mark Reed

adaptive management; land use change; participatory modelling

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Date of publication
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Number of pages
Book title
Adaptive environmental management : a practitioner's guide
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