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A Resilience Based Framework

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  METHODS A resilience-based framework for evaluating adaptiveco-management: Linking ecology, economicsand society in a complex world Ryan Plummer  a, ⁎  , Derek Armitage b,1 a Department of Tourism and Environment, Brock University, 500 Glenridge Ave., St. Catharines, ON Canada L2S 3A1 b Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3C5 A R T I C L E I N F O A B S T R A C T  Article history: Received 31 July 2006Received in revised form25 September 2006Accepted 26 September 2006Available online 21 November 2006Adaptive co-management brings together collaborative and adaptive approaches in pursuitof sustainable resource use and social – ecological resilience. Enthusiasm for thismanagement approach, however, is countered by recent critiques regarding outcomes. Alack of evidence from consistent evaluation of adaptive co-management further exacerbates this situation. This paper revisits the issue of evaluation in natural resourcemanagement and recasts it in light of complex adaptive systems thinking. An evaluativeframework for adaptive co-management is developed which directs attention toward threebroad components: ecosystem conditions, livelihood outcomes and process andinstitutional conditions. Scale-specific parameters are offered for each component tofacilitate systematic learning from experience and encourage cross-site comparisons.Conclusions highlight the importance of systematically incorporating evaluation into theadaptive co-management process and recognize the challenge for resource agencies andresearchers to shift from a conventional to a complex adaptive system perspective.© 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Keywords: Adaptive managementCo-managementEvaluationResilienceComplex adaptive systemsSustainable livelihoods 1. Introduction Co-management has had a profound impact on naturalresource management and recent efforts to integrate ecology,economics and society. Central to co-management is the ideathat the responsibilities for allocating and using resources areshared among multiple parties (Pinkerton, 1989; Berkes et al.,1991). Early co-management research offered an innovativecommentary on the potential of collaboration, especially be-tween Aboriginal peoples and government agencies (seePinkerton, 1989; Berkes, 1989). Having captured the attentionof researchers and managers struggling to advance adminis-trationofcommonresources,theconceptofco-managementis “… beingheraldedasanemergentintellectualtraditiontoguidethe stewardship of natural resources ”  (Natcher et al., 2005).Duringthepast15yearsourunderstandingofco-managementhasbeenenrichedasterminologyhasbeenrefined(e.g.,Berkesetal.,1991;Yandle,2003;PlummerandFitzGibbon,2004a),casestudies of practice have been assembled (e.g., Pomeroy, 1996;Symes, 1997; Silvern, 1999), and conceptualizations (e.g.,Pomeroy and Berkes, 1997; Plummer and FitzGibbon, 2004b;CarlssonandBerkes,2005)aswellastheoreticalunderstanding have been explored (Pinkerton, 1989, 1999, 2003; Plummer and Fennell, in press). Why has co-management been so E C O L O G I C A L E C O N O M I C S 6 1 ( 2 0 0 7 ) 6 2  –  7 4 ⁎  Corresponding author.  Tel.: +1 905 688 5550x4782; fax: +1 905 984 4843. E-mail addresses:  rplummer@brocku.ca (R. Plummer), darmitag@wlu.ca (D. Armitage). 1 Tel.: +1 519 884 0710x2653; fax: +1 519 725 1342.0921-8009/$ - see front matter © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2006.09.025 available at www.sciencedirect.comwww.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon  enthusiasticallypursued? In their synthesis of reasons used topromote co-management Plummer and FitzGibbon (2004b)point to the (potential) outcomes of enhanced equity andefficiencyofdecision-making, broaderbasedlegitimizationfor actions, and increased capacity at a local scale.Adaptive co-management is the logical extension of co-management and is receiving an increasing amount of attention (e.g., Ruitenbeek and Cartier, 2001; Marschke andNong, 2003; Olsson et al., 2004; Armitage et al., in press).Synergies between the concepts of collaboration and adaptivemanagement yield a community-based system which encom-passes complex cross-scale linkages and the process of dynamic learning (Olsson et al., 2004). Consequently, adaptiveco-management is  “ a process by which institutional arrange-ments and ecological knowledge are tested and revised in adynamic, ongoing, self-organized process of trial-and-error  ” (Folke et al., 2002, p. 8). Adaptive co-management offersconsiderable appeal in light of the complex systems view.Complex systems theory considers nature as an evolutionaryprocess made distinguishable by adaptive cycles which arenested at scales increasing in size which results in uncertain-ty, non-linearity, and self-organization (Holling and Gunder-son, 2002; Holling et al., 2002; Berkes, 2004). Olsson et al. (2004,p.87)suggestthat “ thisself-organizing processof adaptiveco-management development, facilitated by rules and incentivesof higher levels, has the potential to make the social – ecological systems more robust to change ” .There is an important counter current to the enthusiasmassociated with both co-management and adaptive co-man-agement. Plummer and FitzGibbon (2004b) observe thatempirical evidence pertaining to the outcomes of co-manage-ment is nascent. Nadasdy (2003, in press) goes further in hiscritical examination of the broader social and political contextof co-management and adaptive co-management. He arguesthat failure to attend to the political economy in which suchpractices are embedded reinforces existing inequities(Nadasdy, in press). Natcher et al. (2005) further elaborate upon the  ‘ hidden ’  conflicts evident in undertaking co-man-agementacrosscultures.Thelackofinformationonoutcomesand critical inquisition is not unique to co-management:Kellert et al. (2000) note that little data exists on the social andecological goals of community-based natural resource man-agement while Conley and Moote (2003) observe that collab-orative approaches to managing natural resources aregarnering the attention of vocal critics. Skepticism regarding collaborative approaches is due to: significant problems (e.g.,circumventing regulations, no accountability) in decision-makingprocessesdevolvedbygovernment;powerimbalancesand co-option, exclusion of the general public, and perpetu-ationofnarrowinterests(ConleyandMoote,2003;Bryan,2004;Frame et al., 2004).Although benefits and limitations of co-management areincreasingly recognized, a dearth of literature and experienceexists on how co-management should be evaluated. Carlssonand Berkes (2005, p. 72) recently observe that  “… althoughecosystems and institutional systems show a large diversity,our tools for conceptualizing and analyzing co-managementare strikingly blunt, and more research needs to be done torefine these tools ” . Even the broader notion of collaborativeenvironmental planning is recognized as being rarely evalu-ated (Chess, 2000; Bellamy et al., 2001; Frame et al., 2004). Thecall for evaluation is becoming common due to an interest inappraising the idealized narrative of collaboration, determin-ing means of overcoming associated barriers, and assessing institutional efforts (Conley and Moote, 2003).In addition to the general void of evaluation in co-management and limited investigations of collaboration,more fundamental problems exist because an evaluativemechanism is ill-positioned to deal with emerging views of reality, such as complex systems theory. Connick and Innes(2003, p. 178) observe that  “ many evaluations of collaborativepolicy making miss the mark because they come from theperspective of an older, modernist paradigm of policy making predicated on the assumption that policies can be designed toproducepredictableoutcomes,eveninverycomplexsettings ” .The value of incorporating evaluation systematically intoadaptive co-management is elevated because it is a criticalpart of the approach. Bellamy et al. (2001, p. 408) explain that “ evaluation is fundamental to identifying change, supporting an adaptive approach that is flexible enough to meet thechallenge of change, and enabling progressive learning atindividual, community, institutional, and policy levels. How-ever, evaluation in natural resource management policy hasbeen neglected and a substantial gap is emerging betweentheory and practice ” .Central to an assessment of adaptive co-management isthe ability to document outcomes and respond to criticalquestions posed by both supporters and opponents. Whatbearing does adaptive co-management have on the environ-ment or a particular resource? Are sustainable livelihoodsenhanced? Is adaptive capacity developed at a local scale? Areadaptive co-management processes a reality or rhetoric? Inthis paper we develop a framework to evaluate adaptive co-management and foster systematic learning across multiplesites. The paper begins with the subject of evaluation; thepurposes of evaluation as it relates to natural resourcemanagement are described, methods of application areexplored and linkages to complex systems theory are culti-vated. An evaluative framework for adaptive co-managementis developed from literature on ecological resilience, liveli-hoods,and consensus building andcollaborative processes.Inaddition to providing a framework to evaluate adaptive co-management,wepositthattheframeworkcanprovideabasisto facilitate reflexivity, consistent cross-site comparisons andcontributetotheorydevelopment.Thepaperconcludeswithadiscussion around the merits of incorporating systematicevaluation into adaptive co-management as an approach thatlinks ecology, economics and society. 2. Evaluationandnaturalresourcemanagement  Evaluationistheprocessofsystematicallyassessingthemerit(s) or worth of an act (Meyers, 1981; Guba and Lincoln, 1989;Chess, 2000). The enterprise is rooted in education and theassessment of school children's performance scores, theprofile and importance of which increased significantly inthelate1960sandearly1970s(Meyers,1981;GubaandLincoln,1989). Thecallfor evaluationin natural resourcemanagementcoincided with this time period and grew considerably during  63 E C O L O G I C A L E C O N O M I C S 6 1 ( 2 0 0 7 ) 6 2  –  7 4  the 1980s. Mitchell (1989) documented the sharp increase inevaluative studies pertaining to natural resources during thistime and explains that the enterprise of evaluation offerspractical value to resource analysts because it identifiesshortcomings in resource policies, programs, or projects andmay justify or query both decisions and actions.In one of the most comprehensive volumes on evaluation,Guba and Lincoln (1989) document the evolution of evaluationthroughthreegenerations.Measurementwascentraltothefirstgeneration of evaluation where emphasis was placed ontechnicalapplicationof instruments to gaugevariables; secondgenerationevaluation(knownasformativeevaluation)retainedthe idea of measurement, but stressed the description of patterns pertaining to stated objectives; and, third generationevaluation extended the role of the evaluator to explicitly pass judgment. In response to the shortcomings of earlier approaches, theyproposeresponsive constructivist evaluation.Their   ‘ fourth generation ’  evaluation is responsive because itactively engages stakeholders in the process of determining evaluative parameters; it is also methodologically based uponconstructivist paradigm which stresses dialectic process andconstructed basis of reality (Guba and Lincoln, 1989).The responsive constructivist approach to evaluationstrongly resonates with trends in natural resource manage-ment during the past decade. The interest in and trendtowards public participation (especially at community or local scales), collaboration, integration, and knowledge plu-ralism are well established (e.g., Chess, 2000; Kellert et al.,2000; Conley and Moote, 2003; Bryan, 2004; Carlsson andBerkes, 2005). Conley and Moote (2003) have comprehensively examined the issue of evaluating collaborative natural re-source management in terms of approaches (why, who, andwhat), standards for comparisons, evaluative methods andthe need to coordinate research efforts. Their work points tothe need for evaluation to reflect the intent of the initiative(criteriahavetendedtocoalescearoundthecriteriaofprocess,environment and socio-economic) as well as be driven fromthe collaborators. Despite these ongoing efforts, evaluation isa rare occurrence (Chess, 2000; Bellamy et al., 2001; Frameet al., 2004). Bellamy et al. (2001, p. 408) observe that  “ existing models of evaluation of natural resource management andplanning are fragmented in terms of reconciling differentdomain perspectives in evaluation, do not provide an inte-grated evaluations, and are not sensitive to the socio-economic, policy/institutional, and environmental contextwithin which performance is assessed ” . 3. Recasting evaluation in a complex adaptivesystem worldview  Evaluation hinges on how we understand the world. Currentevaluative mechanisms were identified as problematic in theintroductoryremarksofthispaperbecauseoftheirfoundationin the modern paradigm or worldview (Connick and Innes,2003). Central to the modernist view is the metaphor of theworld as machine, with the underlying fundamental assump-tion that the world is knowable and predictable throughreductionism and the scientific method (see Capra, 1982;Tierney, 2001; Williams and Sewpaul, 2004). Substantialchallenges confronting the modernist paradigm and therelated notion of government include: the ability of themodel to resolve contradictions between environmentalquality and wealth (Glasbergen, 1998); questioned legitimacyas confidence in government is low (Connick and Innes, 2003);and, doubts about the capability of this largely reactive modelto sufficiently support advanced environmental policy pro-blems which are characterized as being complex and uncer-tain (Galsbergen, 1998; Innes and Booher, 1999a,b). A newmindset is required to understand what collaborative modesofresourceplanningcanaccomplishandtheconditionsunder which the results are worthwhile (see Innes and Booher,1999a;ConnickandInnes,2003).Inthissectionofthepaperweconsiderthetenetsrequiredfora ‘ newmindset ’ forevaluationthat corresponds to a complex adaptive systems view.Largely as a response to the shortcomings identified above, asignificant transformation has occurred from government togovernance, which broadens the scope of actors involved andemphasizes the need for co-operative or collaborative nature(Meadowcroft, 1998; Innes and Booher, 1999a; Loughlin, 2004).Underlyinggovernanceandcollaborationiscomplexityscience,aparadigm emerging from physical sciences that is increasinglybeing utilized to understand economic and social organization(Innes and Booher, 1999a). Unlike the machine metaphor of themodernist paradigm, complexity science views the world ascontinuouslyadaptingandchanginginresponsetoenvironmen-tal feedback (Innes and Booher, 1999a; Connick and Innes, 2003).According to complex systems theory reductionism provideslimited insight as the world is characterized by surprises anddiscontinuities (Ruitenbeek and Cartier, 2001). Systems are self-organizing with properties emerging through nested levels viamultipleinteractionsandfeedbackmechanismsasrelationshipsamong entities are non-linear (Levin, 1999; Ruitenbeek andCartier, 2001; Folke et al., 2002; Gunderson and Holling, 2002).Complexity science has also been identified as a way to bridgenatural and social sciences (Ison et al., 1997) and has led to thedevelopment of social – ecological systems approaches (Berkesand Folke, 1998; Berkes et al., 2003; Berkes, 2004).Trends in resource management and co-operative gover-nance underscore the need for evaluation to also be based oncomplexity thinking (Innes and Booher, 1999a; Bellamy et al.,2001; Campbell et al., 2001; Connick and Innes, 2003; Anderieset al., 2004). This important assertion has largely beendeveloped by Judith Innes, who has produced a series of papers establishing a framework for evaluating collaborativeplanning using complex adaptive systems thinking (see Innesand Booher, 1999a,b; Connick and Innes, 2003). Despite thisconnection, Bellamy et al. (2001, p. 2) observe that  “ signifi-cantly, no clear evaluative frameworks have emerged to guidecontinuousprogramdevelopmentin thewaynaturalresourcemanagementinitiativescontributetoon-goingimprovementsin resource use sustainability and social well-being of thecommunities concerned ” . They contend that evaluation of natural resource management policies ought to connectthe instrumental rationale of an initiative to actual results,permit assessment of impacts and serve as a process, and beinteractive and constructive. In response to these principlesand to overcome the many challenging issues they identify inevaluating natural resources management (e.g., breadth of criteria, multi-dimensional impacts, intangible outcomes, 64   E C O L O G I C A L E C O N O M I C S 6 1 ( 2 0 0 7 ) 6 2  –  7 4  causal ambiguity, multiple perspectives on success), Bellamyet al. (2001) develop a systems-based evaluation framework.Their framework is a dynamic process that consists of characterizing the issue or problem, articulating the intent of the initiative and the evaluations, making transparent itsrationale, implementing evaluation (determine criteria, selectmethods,synthesizeresults),andongoingfeedback.Campbellet al. (2001) use the components of integrated resourcemanagement as a starting point to assess the performance of management systems via sustainable livelihood indicators.Novelty of their approach resides in positioning the four-levelhierarchy (principles, criteria, indicators, and verifiers) withinthe process of social learning, which is central to adaptivemanagement (Campbell et al., 2001). Most recently, Anderies et al. (2004) have articulated a framework to analyze therobustness of social – ecological systems. Combining the threeelements of interest (the resource, its governance, andassociated infrastructure) offers innovation as it conveysconnectivity and highlights potential interactions withinsuch systems. Drawing upon this background, we consider how adaptive co-management may be evaluated.A number of issues should be kept in mind whenconsidering the framework subsequently proposed. First, our intention is to identify key parameters as identified in theliterature upon which to evaluate the performance andoutcomes of adaptive co-management, useful for both singleand cross-site comparative analysis. Mapping out a suite of specific criteria and indicators is beyond the scope of thispaper, and would in any case prove problematic becausespecificcriteriaandindicators —  particularly thosedirectedatevaluating social processes and livelihood dimensions willhave an important contextual basis. Rather, drawing on thelogic of  Berkes and Seixas (2005) and Carpenter et al. (2005), concerning the development of   ‘ surrogates for resilience ’ , weuse the term  ‘ parameters ’  to denote a focus on higher-order but critical components, processes and structures of social – ecologicalsystemswhichcanbe usedasa focalpointtoorientan evaluation of adaptive co-management (see also Wilsonetal.,1996).Thus,theparameterssuggestedherearemeanttobe: forward looking rather than oriented to measures of thecurrent state or condition of the system; should reinforce oneanother, address multiple facets of concern and be replicable;be theoretically grounded (i.e., identifiable in the literature);and highlight cross-scale influences (see Berkes and Seixas,2005). Second, the framework elaborated here is scale-specificandemergesfroma ‘ local ’ perspective.Wedonotseektooffer a comprehensive framework for sustainability evaluation, nor a framework to evaluate large-scale regional processes.Rather, the framework starts from the perspective of morespecific co-management cases where the focus of concern istypically a relatively well-defined resource (fishery, wildlife,forest), protected area or sub-watershed. Third, we recognizethat evaluation from the modernist paradigm ideally requiresa baseline against which to assess outcomes. In recasting evaluation in complexity science important caveats emerge.The objective of a baseline may be limited due to shifting stability of a system. It may also be irrelevant if acquiredduring a turbulent period. Moreover, in most co-managementcases comprehensive baselines are not available. Evaluationin such cases may, in effect, act as a baseline. We hope thatthis framework can encourage co-managers to proactivelyreflect on the types of information and data required toadequately evaluate co-management efforts. 4. An evaluative framework for adaptiveco-management  The instrumental rationale of adaptive co-management issustainability: it aims to solve resource problems through acollaborative process which fosters ecologically sustainablelivelihoods (Berkes, 2004; Carlsson and Berkes, 2005; Folkeetal.,2005;Armitageetal.,inpress).AsCummingsetal.(2005)note, deliberate progress towards sustainability necessarilyinvolves an understanding of the dynamics of linked social/economic – ecological systems. As illustrated in Fig. 1, weexamine the above rationale through the lens of resilience toidentify three focal components for evaluation in adaptive co-management processes: an ecological component, an eco-nomic component approachedusing a sustainable livelihoodsframework, and a process component that draws attention tothe role of institutions and power.Resilience thinking has emerged as one conceptual frame-work with which to understand change and the multiple,cross-scale interactions in social – ecological systems (Gunder-son and Holling, 2002; Berkes et al., 2003). Although groundedin the ecological sciences (Holling 1973), resilience hasincreasingly been tested and applied by natural and socialscientists to examine a range of ecological communities(Gunderson, 2003), linked social – ecological systems (Berkesand Folke, 1998; Berkes et al., 2003), and institutional andorganizational arrangements (Anderies et al., 2006; Folke,2006; Walker et al., 2006). Anderies et al. (2004) make the key point that resilience is a framework for systematicallythinking through system dynamics (rather than a coherentbody of theory) and that the concept helps in our understand-ing of complex systems behaviour.Berkes et al. (2003), identify three central features of resilience: (1) the ability of a system to absorb or buffer disturbances and still maintain its core attributes; (2) theability of the system to self-organize; and (3) the capacity for learningandadaptationinthecontextofchange.Walkeretal.(2006) describe resilience as the potential of a system toremain in a particular configuration, and maintain feedbacks,functions, and an ability to reorganize following disturbance-driven change. Consistent with these definitions, resiliencethinking leads to several insights about complex systembehaviour that provide useful context for evaluating adaptiveco-management, and thus an entrée into the identification of focal areas for evaluation where complexity is a starting pointfor analysis. For example, resilience is dependent on a limitedset of slow variables which act to structure the dynamics of the system. Slow moving variables that operate at larger spatio-temporal scales (e.g., connectivity in forested ecosys-tems, long-standing institutions, or values in social systems)promote stability, maintain the legacies necessary for naturalevolutionary or adaptive processes, and enable a  ‘ remember  ’ effect.Fastvariablesoperatingatsmallertemporalandspatialscales (e.g., insect outbreaks in forest ecosystems, individualpreferences in social systems), however, can overwhelm 65 E C O L O G I C A L E C O N O M I C S 6 1 ( 2 0 0 7 ) 6 2  –  7 4
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