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Research Report

Adaptive Collaborative Management: Criteria and Indicator for Assessing Sustainability

Benno Pokorny
Guilhermina Cayres
Westphalen Nunes
Dörte Segebart
Rozilda Drude
Max Steinbrenner
Copyright Date: Feb. 1, 2003
Pages: 42
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-3)

    Sustainable use of forest resources was identified as one of the most promising strategies for maintaining the economic, ecological and social function of tropical forests (WCED 1987, UNCED 1992, WCFSD 1999). Launched by the Rio Summit (UNCED 1992) remarkable progress has been made towards achieving a common understanding of what sustainable forest management means at global and national levels, on the one hand (Wijewardena et al. 1997), and at forest or local levels on the other (Prabhu et al. 1996).

    For communities, natural resources and specifically the forest has a great importance as an agent of integration and sociocultural, ecological...

  2. (pp. 3-4)

    The principal objective of ACM is to contribute to sustainable development of communities by means of the empowerment of local stakeholders in management of forest resources and negotiations with other involved actors, mainly at the political level. The central hypothesis of ACM is that the combination of a high degree of collaboration among the different stakeholders and highly adaptive management systems under given social, economic and biophysical frame conditions will result in a high level of human well-being and in the maintenance of forest functions (Figure 1).

    Collaboration describes how different actors communicate, interact and participate in daily life, work...

  3. (pp. 5-7)

    The central importance of adaptiveness results from the complexity of human-forest interactions. Due to the huge quantity of direct and indirect response mechanisms exchanged between the system components, it is difficult to anticipate how a certain human-forest system would react, mainly because of three reasons: (1) the feedback of biological or human interventions in the systems is often not linear, (2) often the response of the system is not direct or visible, or else happens with time delays, and (3) in tropical forests, the level of knowledge about how the different components affect each other is extremely low. This is...

  4. (pp. 7-9)

    Actors involved in forest management have just begun to acknowledge how many stakeholders with interests in forests there are, and how quickly and dramatically their relationships with each other and with the forest can change (Colfer et al. 1999). At present, forest management generally does not deal well with the complexity and dynamism of the relationships among the many stakeholders. The lack of collaboration is also visible by the fact that knowledge and organizational capabilities represented by traditional local management systems are often undermined. This kind of arrogance reduces benefits, efficiency and security related to the use of forest resources...

  5. (pp. 10-11)

    ACM assumes that all relevant stakeholders have a part to play and a contribution to make in sustainable forest management, in environmental protection, and in enhancing human well being. Without some consensus or at least a working agreement among them on how and for what purposes the forest is managed, degradation of resources and rural poverty will be accelerated. Both forest and the interacting human systems are complex, and no single solution is likely to be generally successful. Interactive improvement of management is required. In order to achieve this, management needs to be open to a collaborative process of progressive...

  6. (pp. 12-15)

    Since the Rio Conference in 1992 efforts to develop instruments for supporting sustainable forest management have intensified. From the offset criteria and indicators to assess sustainability of forest management (C&I) were in the focus of research. Prabhu et al. (1998) characterized C&I as tools designed to deliver transparent and cost-effective information required facilitating sustainable forest management. They have suggested that C&I represent a form of communication network with the special utility to facilitate cognition of the state of sustainability in the forest-human systems in question. Essential to the concept of C&I is the rule that no single criterion or indicator...

  7. (pp. 15-18)

    In relation to the approach of ACM, the analysis of C&I sets elaborated by CIFOR’s teams in Asia and Africa and similar studies in Brazil (Ritchie et al. 1999) showed deficiencies. The conventional structure of C&I sets having areas of interest such as Social, Ecology, Politics and Production of Goods and Services, does not reflect the need of ACM for a clear distinction between action and impact of the action. In addition most of the existing C&I sets focus too much on commercial timber production. Finally, C&I sets tend to work with the implication that the application of specific techniques...