Does linking long term research sites to an ‘observatory of rural change’ make sense in the context of the research we are proposing?
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Does linking long term research sites to an ‘observatory of rural change’ make sense in the context of the research we are proposing?

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A presentation prepared by Frank Place for the workshop on Dealing with Drivers of Rapid Change in Africa: Integration of Lessons from Long-term Research on INRM, ILRI, Nairobi, June 12-13, 2008.

A presentation prepared by Frank Place for the workshop on Dealing with Drivers of Rapid Change in Africa: Integration of Lessons from Long-term Research on INRM, ILRI, Nairobi, June 12-13, 2008.

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  • 1. Carrying out scale-relevant collaborative research on drivers of changelessons and insight from SAfMA & other initiatives
    Presented by Bob Scholes (CSIR: bscholes@csir.co.za) at the Workshop on Dealing with Drivers of Rapid Change in Africa: Integration of Lessons from Long-term Research on INRM, ILRI, Nairobi, June 12-13, 2008
  • 2. The importance of a having a conceptual model
    The MA conceptual model was simple,
    but sufficient for the purpose
    In some respects, it was even arguably wrong
    But it did provide a way of teasing out
    proximal drivers, ultimate drivers,
    feedback effects and interventions, and created
    a framework in which both human sciences and
    natural sciences could locate themselves
    Source: MEA (2003) Ecosystem services and human well-being. Island Press
  • 3. Causality in systems with feedback
    b
    a
    Which is cause, and which effect?
    c
    Tools you can use
    • Cause still precedes effect
    • 4. Analysing the strength of the feedback can help
    • 5. At what point was the external perturbation applied?
  • Example of complex causality
    • In Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa, large areas of land formerly managed for cattle and sheep switched to wildlife, 1975 onward
    • 6. Many factors were involved, including
    • 7. Declining profitability of cattle and sheep ranching
    • 8. Rising demand for hunting and ecotourism
    • 9. Deteriorating on-farm security
    • 10. Intergenerational lifestyle changes
    • 11. The changes in legislation relating to ownership of wildlife actually followed rather than preceded these factors
    Source: Scholes et al (in prep)
  • 12. Meta-analysisThe relative weights of the many causes of food insecurity
  • 13. Causality: Nutrition insecurityarguments from a knowledge of underlying processes
    Source: Scholes RJ and R Biggs 2004 Ecosystem services in southern Africa: a
    Regional assessment. CSIR
  • 14. Getting the relationships rightExample:How does biodiversity link to ecosystem services, and services to human wellbeing?
    Society
    utilitarian
    values
    intrinsic
    values
    Biodiversity
    The naïve view
  • 15. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2003) scheme
    Human wellbeing
    Material
    needs
    Good social relations
    Health
    Security
    Freedom & choice
    Indirect
    drivers
    Provisioning
    Food, fibre,
    water, wood
    medicines
    Supporting
    Nutrient
    Cycles, NPP
    Regulating
    Climate,
    disease,
    floods
    Cultural
    Aesthetics
    Tourism
    spiritual
    Direct
    Drivers
    Climate change
    Biodiversity
  • 16. The MA followup scheme
    Source: Kinzig, Perrings and Scholes (submitted)
    Human wellbeing
    Freedom and choice
    Security Material needs Health Social relations
    insurance
    value
    market &
    nonmarket
    values
    Provisioning
    food, fibre, wood
    water, air, genes,
    medicines
    Cultural
    aesthetics, ethics
    tourism & recreation
    spiritual, sense of place

    Ecosystem services


    Regulating
    climate, floods, pests & disease
    Supporting
    Ecosystem processes, Habitat provision
    functional
    types
    landscape
    diversity
    species
    diversity
    response
    diversity
    Biodiversity
    interactions
  • 17. Multiscale
  • 18. Cross-scale
    Direct drivers
    Indirect drivers
    Ecosystem
    services
    Human Wellbeing
    Source: Carpenter et al 2006 Science 313 257-258
  • 19. ‘Right-scale’ or ‘multiscale’?
    • Matching scale of analysis to scale of process and scale of intervention is important
    • 20. But, because of cross-scale interactions, there often is not a single ‘optimum’ scale
    • 21. Rather than go for a ‘best compromise’, an integrated multiscale approach is recommended
    • 22. Seldom needs to include more than 3 scales
  • Sparse nesting as an efficient approach
    Global Millennium Assessment
    ~35 others
  • 23. Engaging other knowledge systemsif they want to have an impact in the ‘evidence-based’ space they need to migrate to that quadrant, by being placed in the public domain, and subject to rules of evidence. This is their choice.
    Apply rules: ie, test
    document
    Christo Fabricius, Bob Scholes and Georgina Cundill
    Mobilising knowledge for ecosystem assessments
    Proceedings of the ‘Bridging Scales and Epistemologies’
    Conference, Alexandria, Egypt, March 2004
  • 24. Some observations on collaborative research
    • You must have an agreed conceptual framework, even if it is imperfect
    • 25. The rules of engagement are
    • 26. Work within the framework
    • 27. Agree to share information ie explicit, formal quadrant
    • 28. Have an institutional framework for resolving conflicts
    • 29. A ‘stakeholder board’ and a ‘technical panel’
    • 30. Pay attention to the ‘soft’ issues
    • 31. Provide opportunities to bond as a team
    • 32. Get the balance right between disciplines and personalities
    • 33. Partnerships need to be quasi-equal if they are to work
  • All the simple problems are done