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Knowledge Management & Decision Support

  1. 1. Knowledge Management & Decision Support 8 April 2014, Gudrun Schwilch COSTactionES1104 DesertificationHub WORLD OVERVIEW OF CONSERVATION APPROACHES AND TECHNOLOGIES
  2. 2. The DESIRE approach
  3. 3. The usual way of finding solutions 3 Researchers Technical advisor Farmers HP. Liniger HP. Liniger HP. Liniger
  4. 4. Undesired effects 4 K. Herweg
  5. 5. Premises a. Wealth of SLM knowledge and experience available -> require recognition, evaluation and learning b. Local solutions not a priori good: SLM must be ecologically effective, economically viable and socio- culturally acceptable -> requires proper assessment c. Technocratic approches often lead to failures -> requires participative selection and decision support process d. Up-scaling proven SLM only possible if SLM is adapted locally -> requires a local process
  6. 6. Development of a Methodological Framework -> threepart framework leading through whole procedure from initiation to final decision based on > the WOCAT database of best practices > tools to assess and select SLM strategies > a methodology to apply these tools within a participatory process
  7. 7. • Part I – Identification: Identify existing and potential strategies with a participatory learning approach (stakeholder workshop 1) • Part II – Assessment: Evaluate, document and share strategies with standardised questionnaires • Part III – Selection: Select the most promising strategies with a decision support tool (stakeholder workshop 2) Methodological framework G. Schwilch G. Schwilch
  8. 8. Documentation and evaluation with questionnaires Part I - Identification • Stakeholder workshop 1 • Mutual learning • Identification of current and potential solutions • 3 days Part II - Assessment • Documentation and evaluation of 3-5 local and potential solutions • using WOCAT questionnaires • 2-3 months Part III – Selection and decision • Stakeholder workshop 2 • Selection and decision support for local implementation • 2 days Local water and biomass cycles: • disturbances • causes and impacts (natural and human) • solutions Preparations: Descriptionofnaturalandhumanenvironment Firstlistofactualtechnologiesandapproaches( Indicators of degradation and conservation Stakeholders influence and motivation Assessment of locally applied solutions and ideas for potential strategies Prioritize local and potential solutions for further assessment Technology T1 and Approach A1 Technology T2 and Approach A2 Technology T3 and Approach A3 Technology T4 and Approach A4 Technology T5 and Approach A5 Preparations: PreliminarysearchforoptionsinWOCATdatabase Technologypostersandcards Selection from WOCAT database with local/potential, DESIRE and worldwide solutions Comparison and appraisal of options for local application, with weighted criteria in decision support tool Negotiation and decision for test implementation with commitment of stakeholders Embedding into overall land management strategy For each T and A: • Description, specifications and costs • natural and human environment • analysis (pros and cons, impact, acceptance, etc) Review and quality assurance Methodological framework
  9. 9. Sharing and negotiating knowledge 9 local authority agricultural advisor researcher young land user experienced land user possible solutions G. Schwilch
  10. 10. Part I: Identification > 3-days local stakeholder workshop > initiate process and tap local experience / innovation > L4S didactic approach: various stakeholders in specific local context, initiate learning process through dialogue and joint reflection, enhancing trust and collaboration among local and external participants Training material Learning groupContext Learning process
  11. 11. Contents of stakeholder workshop 1 • Identification of land degradation and desertification processes, their causes and impacts (Exercise 1 + 2) • Identification of local indicators for land degradation and conservation (Exercise 3) • Identification and first assessment of currently applied and of potential prevention and mitigation strategies (Exercise 7) • Identification of stakeholders, and their roles and responsibilities concerning sustainable land management (Exercise 4) • Working towards an outline of a coherent overall strategy for land conservation in the given local context (Exercise 8)
  12. 12. • Based on 3-5 most promising solutions identified in stakeholder workshop 1 • Interactive between land users and experts • Q‘s help to understand reasons behind successful own experiences • Standardized assessment and documentation -> review and quality assurance -> global database • Basis for knowledge sharing Part II: Assessment
  13. 13. Part III: Selection and decision Stakeholder Workshop 2 (2 days) Working through a series of steps, incl. multi-criteria evaluation, to reach decision for trial implementation
  14. 14. Methodology: > Selection of options is based on WOCAT database > Scoring and decision process is supported by a decision support software > Both tools are embedded into a stakeholder workshop, continuing the ‘learning for sustainability’ approach
  15. 15. Select options (step 1 + 2) > Define objective: what are we looking for ? > Search in the WOCAT database (basket of options) > Search facilitated by leading through a series of key questions to limit the selection to 4-7 (to be evaluated with the following steps)
  16. 16. Composting associated with planting pits Zhuanglang loess terraces Forest catchment treatment Fanya juu terraces Grevillea agroforestry system Small-scale conservation tillage Rehabilitation of ancient terraces Stone wall bench terraces Furrow-enhanced runoff harvesting for olives Small level bench terraces Improved trash lines Degradation: water erosion Ecograze Hill agroforestry … Sunken streambed structure Shelterbelts for farmland in sandy areas … Degradation: aridification Barreras vivas Land use: annual cropping Check dam Pepsee micro-irrigation system … Technologies resulting from the first two key questions on degradation and land use • open-source DSS software ‚Facilitator‘ • used in background -> potentially suitable T‘s -> needs adaptation!
  17. 17. Identify and rank criteria, score options (step 3 - 5) > Identifying a set of 9-12 ecological, economic and socio-cultural criteria > Looking at one criterion at a time and scoring all options against this criterion • Ranking criteria under each category according importance -> this assigns weights to the criteria
  18. 18. Analysis (step 6) > Visualisation of the relative merits of the options. > An option can only be sustainable if it receives good valuation in each category
  19. 19. Negotiation and decision making (step 7-8) > Negotiation of the best options -> final agreement on which option(s) selected for implementation > Embedding into overall strategy, overcome framework obstacles > Seek stakeholder commitment
  20. 20. Methodological elements Enter criteria to search for water solutions FACILITATOR software / Joris de Vente
  21. 21. > Learning between participants: a bias in favour of experts > Local stakeholder underestimate their contributions > Deepening SLM knowledge > Learning going beyond SLM: appreciating the methodology > Group consensus over SLM selection > Appropriate and feasible SLM solutions > Efficiency of process to facilitate SLM despite time and structural limitations Resulting key issues of the 3-part methodology G. Schwilch
  22. 22. Judgement of the study site researchers regarding quality of decision support
  23. 23. Criteria selection > Crop yield increase: 11 x > Increase farm income: 8 x > Costs of implementation / expenses of inputs: 8 x > Product / activities diversification: 6 x > Fodder / animal production increase: 6 x ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- > Soil erosion decrease / prevention: 14 x > Increase water availability / quantity: 8 x > Plant diversity / biodiversity increase: 6 x > Increase organic matter content of soil: 6 x > Other water related (groundwater, river / pond rehabilitation, etc.): 5 x > Decrease salinity / reduce risk of soil salinization: 5 x > Soil cover increase: only 3 x! > Reduce evaporation: only 2 x > Drought resistance: only 1 x! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- > promotion of association, neighbourhood solidarity, community institutional strengthening: 7 x > food security increase: 6 x > capacity building / increase knowledge of conservation / erosion: 6 x > Increase employment opportunities: 4 x under socio-cultural, plus 3 x under economic > Migration reduction / fixing population and stop farming exodus: 5 x Economic Ecological Socio-cultural
  24. 24. > Generic methodology as a challenge -> successfully applied in a diversity of contexts and by a variety of researchers > SLM practices are transferable among sites, but require adaptation -> collaboration of researchers and land users > More field research is needed to back up expert valuation of SLM impacts -> commitment and resources > The methodology facilitates multi-stakeholder learning processes that contributes to more SLM -> solution-oriented, economic (time and resources), comprehensive > Decision support methodology successfully applied -> outcome in the long term to be confirmed Conclusions
  25. 25. CDE (Centre for Development and Environment). 2010. Coping with degradation through SLWM. SOLAW Background Thematic report – TR12. Rome: FAO ( Liniger HP, Mekdaschi Studer R, Hauert C, Gurtner M. 2011. Sustainable Land Management in Practice – Guidelines and Best Practices for Sub-Saharan Africa. TerrAfrica, WOCAT, FAO Schwilch G, 2012. A process for effective desertification mitigation. PhD thesis Wageningen University. ISBN 9789461732880. Schwilch G, Bachmann F, Liniger HP. 2009. Appraising and selecting conservation measures to mitigate desertification and land degradation based on stakeholder participation and global best practices. Land Degradation & Development 20: 308–326 Schwilch G, Bestelmeyer B, Bunning S, Critchley W, Herrick J, Kellner K, Liniger HP, Nachtergaele F, Ritsema C, Schuster B, Tabo R, van Lynden G, Winslow M. 2011. Experiences in Monitoring and Assessment of Sustainable Land Management. Land Degradation & Development 22 (2), 214-225 Schwilch G, Bachmann F, de Graaff J. 2012. Decision support for selecting SLM technologies with stakeholders. Applied Geography 34: 86-98. Schwilch G, Bachmann F, Valente S, Coelho C, Moreira J, Laouina A, Chaker M, Aderghal M, Santos P, Reed MS. 2012. A structured multi-stakeholder learning process for sustainable land management. Journal of Environmental Management 107: 52-63 (2012); doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2012.04.023. Schwilch G., Hessel, R. and Verzandvoort, S. (Eds). 2012. Desire for Greener Land. Options for Sustainable Land Management in Drylands. CDE, Alterra, ISRIC and CTA WOCAT 2007: where the land is greener – case studies and analysis of soil and water conservation initiatives worldwide. Editors: HP. Liniger and W. Critchley. CTA, FAO, UNEP, CDE. Related publications

Editor's Notes

  • 17 sites used as kind of global laboratory
  • Researchers seek for and test possible solutions for current problems
    Technical advisors bring the solutions to the farmers.
    The farmers implement what the advisor suggested and support.
    Top-down and technocratic approach
  • What has happened many times: technically sophisticated and tested solutions are not implemented by farmers, or are later on given up again (see above: former terraces are ploughed under) because they require a lot of manual work without a direct economic benefit, or because they interfere with cultural norms and practices.
  • 4 premises (or hypothesis)
    A) Wealth of SLM knowledge: before envisaging new technical solutions it is worthwile to look at what is already applied locally
    Some practices only used by a few innovative land users or traditional (not recognized nor evaluated)
    But often, knowledge is only available locally and is not shared by land users, technicians, researchers or policy makers -> requires joint learning
    C) Technical experts / scientist recommend best practices: but approach is too technocratic!
    D) not simply local participation: it requires experts & scientist and higher level stakeholders (policy makers etc) too!
  • afterwards trial selected SLM strategies in the field
    Methodology as a key product developed within this PhD study
    Combines a collective learning and decision – making approach with the use of evaluated global best practices
  • Main principle: sharing and negotiating knowledge
    Researchers act as knowledge-brokers.
    Not simply local participation: it requires experts & scientists and higher level stakeholders (policy makers etc) too
    We often found that it was the first time that these different actors jointly discussed about the problems of land use and possible solutions
    Important is the focus on available local and external solutions right from the beginning and not getting stuck on endless problem discussions.
  • Software facilitates calculations and analysis to be made in the course of the evaluation and decision-making process. I found this open-source software and adapted it slightly for DESIRE
    Participatory approach to guide and lead the workshop participants through the single steps
    Workshop facilitator / moderator with big methodological and topical challenges:
    Variety of stakeholders
    Responsibility for result (affecting real life)
    Undestanding complex issue of degradation & conservation
    -> special training provided for all study sites (but not on moderation per se)

  • Stakeholders conducting a multi-criteria analysis (MCA)
  • Negotiation of the best options among stakeholder groups to find a final agreement on which option(s) should be selected for implementation
  • Most important part of PhD
  • Focus on crop yield increase and soil erosion decrease.
    Little on soil cover increase / evaporation decrease -> more expected in desertification prone areas
  • Methodology already applied outside DESIRE, eg in Portugal or Tajikistan (proves usefulness)
    Training was provided for the DESIRE study site teams