Methods for Multiple Stakeholder Management
of Community Forests
A writing Competition, Workshop
It has become increasingly clear during the
last several decades that sustainable forest management is not a static target,
nor can it be achieved through blueprint-type prescriptions. The diverse interests
of stakeholders in forests has given rise to a need for social processes to define
what sustainable forest management is, how it should be achieved, how to monitor
it and how to improve management on the basis of experience. At the field level,
much experimentation has been done to address these combined needs.
methods for multiple stakeholder processes have focused on stakeholder identification,
conflict resolution and negotiation techniques. Little work, however, has been
shared on the learning that is necessary to adapt to changing circumstances, particularly
when the learning needs to take place among many interest groups simultaneously.
One approach to this type of learning is Adaptive Co-management (ACM). ACM refers
to an iterative cycle of learning and action, undertaken jointly by diverse interests,
to respond to changing management needs and conditions. Managers decide together
on forest interventions and treat each intervention as a trial to be monitored
and learned from. The outcomes and lessons from a particular intervention are
debated and a new strategy for action is developed.
forests are of interest for the crucial role they play in supporting rural people's
livelihoods and for the current trend worldwide to devolve forest management to
local people. The need for stakeholder input and adaptive management in these
forests is especially important to cope with the often-changing economic needs
of forest dwellers and conditions, and the multiple uses, users and layers of
ownership or use rights that involve different actors. Yet the costs of monitoring
and participatory modes of decision-making required for ACM have limited the extent
to which it has been implemented. Incorporating diverse stakeholders and ACM into
formal stewardship contracts or forest management agreements has also proven problematic
as it require a shift in the types of responsibilities and rights governments
perceive appropriate for communities.
The Center for International Forestry Research
(CIFOR) in collaboration with the East-West Center sponsored in 1999 a competition
to bring attention to innovations promoting shared learning that allows diverse
interests in forest management to adapt to changing environmental and social circumstances.
We identified nine outstanding "stories" of how adaptive, collaborative management
is working in practice and invited practitioners to report on the lessons they
have learned from using ACM-types of approaches, the outcomes of its application,
and innovations for overcoming the constraints to its use.
competition was open to any individual, team of people or institution working
with local communities (or from these communities) that manage forests. Applications
from teams were especially encouraged, although we only supported one person per
team in the writing workshop. Forests could be natural or planted. There had to
be evidence of both a multiple stakeholder and adaptive approach to management.
While we did not expect that applicants would have undertaken ACM as we have defined
it here, we were interested in collaborative management processes that are moving
towards a more experimental, shared-learning, and adaptive process.
enter the competition, applicants submited an abstract and application in January,
1999. CIFOR reviewed the abstracts and selected nine participants. The participants
attended a four-week writing workshop in August 1999. There each participant summarized
their experience and innovations in a chapter for a book to be published in early
200. Several chapters will later possibly be revised for publication in a journal.
Dr. Jeff Fox coordinated the writing workshop, which was
held at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA in August 1999. Louise Buck
from Cornell University was the chief resource person and co-facilitator, together
with David Edmunds from CIFOR.
The resulting book and
articles will be disseminated widely, especially among practitioners working in
community forest management. We would welcome suggestions of organizations, networks
or individuals interested in receiving this volume.