Collaborative learning as part of adaptive management of forests affected by deer

Chris Jacobson, Will Allen, Clare Veltman, Dave Ramsey, David M. Forsyth, Simon Nicol, Rob Allen, Charles Todd, Richard Barker

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapterpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Adaptive management requires the merger of management with science to provide robust knowledge about the effect of management actions. It can also be applied as a model of collaborative learning to support effective resource management. Using the example of adaptive management of native forests affected by introduced deer in New Zealand, we set out to identify some of the tensions that become apparent when adaptive management is applied in this way. We describe the process of adaptive management as it was applied in this case study. Drawing from project documentation and participant reflections on the learning process, we highlight three key lessons: (1) the need to create 'space' - i.e. a permissive environment that allows for an evolving process rather than a formalised and legalistic one; (2) that adaptive management cannot be expected to progress in a standardised way but instead, role clarity will emerge over time and this will contribute to an emerging vision of contribution that participants see for their project; and (3) the collaborative learning component of adaptive management poses a new challenge for science as rather than providing solutions to management issues, scientists contribute technical expertise and methods as part of the management of an issue or situation of interest. We show that these tensions decrease with time and that the collaborative learning process in this project lead to new understanding of forests for most participants. Moreover, the inclusion of shared learning as a primary objective of the project improved the relationships between participants.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdaptive Environmental Management
Subtitle of host publicationA Practitioner's Guide
EditorsCatherine Allan, George H. Stankey
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781402096327
ISBN (Print)9789048127108
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes


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