Social
networks,
communities
of practice

Sense making
Understanding
‘Mental models’

Drainage
basins

Landscapes

Codes o...
Formal

Licenses, permits

Formality of knowledge

Compliance monitoring
Ecological research

Space
programmes
Conventions...
Assessing the relative contribution of forest resources to local
livelihoods (Scheepers 2007. PhD, Rhodes)
People’s Biodiv...
• Historical trends and conditions
• Inter-generational transfer of knowledge
• “At one stage when the national road
wasn’...
Size of forests

Why are forests expanding at Nqabara?
350.0
300.0
250.0
200.0
150.0
100.0
50.0
0.0

Forest size
1974
Fore...
“harvest wood only once it is dead and
is dry”

“Thatching grass and reeds are allowed
to be harvested between April and J...
• Wilderness Lakes CMF member
(70): “There are also a lot of people in
there who’ve got extensive
experience in different ...
• Knysna birding enthusiast: “..and then the Bird clubs do on-going counts in certain
areas…[search for] correlation betwe...
Resistance, lack of buy-in, taking
inappropriate action
Retired Sedgefield resident: “I would
launch a campaign, I would m...
• Capacity
– Skills of officials and local people
– Capacity for adaptive management
• “Stakeholder inclusivity is vital t...
Enabling Environment

Adaptive comanagement
framework

Ecological knowledge and
Institutional arrangements
Plan

Adapt

Le...
Informal knowledge and adaptive co management of protected areas (Christo Fabricius, Bianca Currie and Aneri Vlok)
Informal knowledge and adaptive co management of protected areas (Christo Fabricius, Bianca Currie and Aneri Vlok)
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Informal knowledge and adaptive co management of protected areas (Christo Fabricius, Bianca Currie and Aneri Vlok)

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Protected areas can be conceptualized as complex adaptive systems, with feedbacks between social and ecological processes inside and outside their boundaries. Understanding and managing these feedbacks requires as much information and knowledge as possible. Protected area managers on their own are seldom able to collect and process the full array of information required to adaptively manage protected areas, especially in the context of the broader social-ecological landscape. In that sense informal, local and traditional knowledge can be valuable in providing supplemental or even core information required to make complex management decisions. Involvement of local knowledge holders may also assist in building bridges between protected area managers and local stakeholders, and ignoring local knowledge often leads to conflict with subsequent demands on precious human and financial resources. In this presentation we provide a conceptual framework for the role of knowledge, learning and co-innovation in adaptive co-management. We provide examples of informal, local and traditional knowledge and its relevance for biodiversity conservation and protected area management, and of the lost opportunities and conflicts that come to the fore when such knowledge is ignored. We also discuss some of the pitfalls and share ideas of processes and methods that may promote the better use of informal, local and traditional knowledge in adaptive co-management of protected areas.

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Informal knowledge and adaptive co management of protected areas (Christo Fabricius, Bianca Currie and Aneri Vlok)

  1. 1. Social networks, communities of practice Sense making Understanding ‘Mental models’ Drainage basins Landscapes Codes of conduct, incentives Local ecosystems, biotic communities Management practices Knowledge; Beliefs Folke 2006. Global Env Change 16(3): 253-267
  2. 2. Formal Licenses, permits Formality of knowledge Compliance monitoring Ecological research Space programmes Conventions Global change models EIAs Management plans Management activities Seminars Conferences Informal Customs, traditions Ecosystem use Local Listservers Scale of perspective Universal Fabricius et al. 2006. in: Reid W. et al. (eds.). Bridging Scales and Knowledge Systems. Concepts and Applications in Ecosystem Assessment. Island Press.
  3. 3. Assessing the relative contribution of forest resources to local livelihoods (Scheepers 2007. PhD, Rhodes) People’s Biodiversity Registers (Fabricius & Pereira in review; Gadgil 2007) Monitoring relative changes in forest health over time Assessing livestock condition as an indicator of veld condition (Bolus 2010. MSc, Rhodes) Comparing the abundance of medicinal plants inside and outside protected areas (Fabricius & Burger 1997 – SA J Sci) People’s Biodiversity Transects , Bathurst commonage (Fabricius , Cundill, McGarry & Gambiza, SANBI 2005)
  4. 4. • Historical trends and conditions • Inter-generational transfer of knowledge • “At one stage when the national road wasn’t there and the railway bridge wasn’t there, there was a huge, huge estuary that wound its way down to the sea.” Images from www.knysnawoodworkers.co.za
  5. 5. Size of forests Why are forests expanding at Nqabara? 350.0 300.0 250.0 200.0 150.0 100.0 50.0 0.0 Forest size 1974 Forest size 2001 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Frequency of response % Forests 70.0 60.0 50.0 40.0 30.0 20.0 10.0 0.0 Lack of fire Exotics encourages growth Stop people move Natural cultivation Expansion Building materials not needed Reasons for change Chalmers & Fabricius 2007. Ecology & Society
  6. 6. “harvest wood only once it is dead and is dry” “Thatching grass and reeds are allowed to be harvested between April and July”. “If people want to go into the red zones for traditional ceremonies or to visit sacred pools, they must get permission from the office”
  7. 7. • Wilderness Lakes CMF member (70): “There are also a lot of people in there who’ve got extensive experience in different relative areas and a lot of knowledge...some are retired water engineers you know, farmers with extensive experience in catchment management elsewhere.” • Retired Sedgefield resident traumatized by 2007 floods: “But the old-timers knew a thing or three. … In their wisdom people came back later and said ….those are the [areas] that got flooded”. http://www.discover-sedgefield-south-africa.com
  8. 8. • Knysna birding enthusiast: “..and then the Bird clubs do on-going counts in certain areas…[search for] correlation between why numbers are increasing or decreasing, [why] birds have moved off, to give us some idea of what’s going on...” • [Referring to a senior resident] “..he’s not a scientist but he’s got a scientist’s mind and he’s done a lot of analysis particularly of the water” • Retired Sedgefield resident: “I have a timetable with me and I tend to write notes on the back of it…if there is any change in the mouth and I record those, well I’ve kept a sort of a diary of that on the computer so I’ve got that sort of thing” • “.. I go down there on a daily basis and I take a lot of photographs..,You tend to notice things that are happening”
  9. 9. Resistance, lack of buy-in, taking inappropriate action Retired Sedgefield resident: “I would launch a campaign, I would make it very uncomfortable for them. Because sometimes that’s only way to actually get them to listen. But anyway...” Retired engineer: “..if the state isn’t doing their duty it is the citizen’s duty to do it for them…[that is why].. we did some engineering at the railway bridge”.
  10. 10. • Capacity – Skills of officials and local people – Capacity for adaptive management • “Stakeholder inclusivity is vital to the success of an adaptive planning process” (Roux & Foxcroft 2011. Koedoe 53 (2). • Yet only 18% of papers reviewed involved external stakeholders in adaptive management • • Power differentials & perceptions of power Mutual (dis)respect – – – • • • Historical baggage Attitudes Divergent value systems Unwillingness to compromise and learn Prejudice amongst professionals of local knowledge, and amongst locals of scientific knowledge Validity and quality control of data from citizen science
  11. 11. Enabling Environment Adaptive comanagement framework Ecological knowledge and Institutional arrangements Plan Adapt Learn Experiment Monitor, & Evaluate Diverse range of stakeholders

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