Adaptive Collaborative Management Projects




Concept Papers
ACM Work Plan


The ACM/C&I field test component, undertaken with a Participatory Action Research approach (in order to maximize direct user input), will critically test the hypotheses that in a multi-stakeholder setting 1) an approach which is high in adaptive learning and collaboration (ie takes an ACM approach) can offer greater sustainability from a biophysical and social perspective than traditional "trial and error" approaches to management; and 2) that it is possible to identify methods and tools which facilitate movement from low to high adaptiveness and collaboration.

  Definition :

"Adaptive Co-Management" involves improving the shared, institutional learning that takes place among stakeholders (necessarily including communities) involved in forest management. This will include continuous and collaborative improvements in management, based on improvements in the breadth and depth of forest-related knowledge shared, and the speed at which that knowledge is transformed into effective action. ACM is built on a recognition of the dynamism and complexity of human and natural systems touching on management.

  Principles of ACM:

The principles that define an ACM approach include that:

  • Key stakeholders all have an opportunity to participate in the process in a manner satisfactory them. This includes that there is effective information flow amongst stakeholders.
  • Collaborative learning. Which itself incorporates a number of principles:
    • There are processes for creating shared understanding
    • Knowledge is held in many places
    • There is an emphasis in collaboration on interests not positions
    • There is an emphasis on situations not problems
    • The goal is improvement not solutions
  • Management "interventions" (ie "actions" in PAR language) are consciously designed for learning. This includes the perception that surprise is both inevitable and an opportunity; and that there is some sort of feedback mechanism which allows management to be a continuous process of discovery and learning.
  • There is an institutional willingness and capacity to respond to learning


Experiences and experiments in Natural Resource Management appear to indicate that there are a number of Elements, related to the above Principles, which may be key to enhancing the adaptiveness and collaborative nature of management. These will form the basis of ACM field test interventions. They include:

  • Reflection – assessing situation from social, ecological perspectives, etc.; assessing goals of management
  • Defining key issue (problem) to be addressed (and defining its practical boundaries)
  • Identifying key uncertainties (gaps in understanding/knowledge) about the situation (or the social or ecological systems etc) (What needs to be answered crossed with what can be answered)
  • Identifying and assessing different possibilities for "actions" (management interventions) and choosing the "action"(s) to be undertaken
  • Planning to undertake the "action"(s)
  • Designing an information feedback system (ie how will you monitor your impacts/successes/ "surprises"? How do you plan to learn from that?)
  • Implement "action"(s) and monitoring
  • Assessing, evaluating and adjusting (replanning) based on learning (ie feedback loop initiates new reflection and planning…)

  Phases of ACM Field Test Implementation (iterative)

  • Development of ACM Baseline Documents:
    • Research questions and framework
    • ACM conceptual model
    • Background studies on Collaborative Management
    • Background studies on Adaptive Management
  • Partner Selection:
    • Create International Steering Committee
    • Create National Steering Committees (Indonesia, Philippines, Nepal)
    • Create Partnerships for research activities
  • Site Selection
  • (Initiate Policy Context Studies)
  • Development of ACM implementation plan:
    • Adapted C&I systhesis
    • C&I/monitoring methods & tools
    • Adaptive & collaborative Management processes and strategies development
  • ACM Implementation Preliminary Phase
    • Dialogue/negotiations with communities and partners
    • Partner Training
    • Generate site baselines
  • ACM Implementation Main Phase :
    • Stakeholder self/collaborative assessment of forest management systems
    • Key issue identification
    • Collaborative Management "Intervention" Planning
    • Collaborative Design of Monitoring system (C&I)
    • Stakeholder Implementation of Intervention and Monitoring
    • Stakeholder Assessment of Impact and adjustment of intervention & monitoring
  • On-going research tracking ACM approaches, methods, and tools, and biophysical and social impacts