|Title||Berkes, F. 2009. Evolution of co-management: role of knowledge generation, bridging organizations and social learning. Journal of Environmental Management. 90: 1692-1702.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2009|
|Journal||Journal of Environmental Management|
|Keywords||adaptive co-management, bridging organizations, co-management, governance, institutions, knowledge, social learning, trust|
Provides a critical analysis of different aspects emerging within co-management to enhance the understanding of the concept.
Co-management is an evolving form of natural resource management in which different aspects are continuing to emerge. Central to these emerging aspects is social learning and adaptive processes. Co-management is viewed as a knowledge partnership which requires bridging organisations to facilitate effective interaction and transfer among this knowledge. Social learning is important in this context, both as a process and an outcome, and is facilitated by joint problem solving and reflection within learning networks or nodes. Networks include multiple functions and can be loosely described as vertical and horizontal linkages, although the linkages are not always this defined in reality. The functional make-up of these networks is influenced by specialisation within organisations, the time the case has been operating, and the need for redundancy. This article describes a ‘maturing’ process where co-management processes become adaptive co-management over time. During this time, the generation of knowledge progressively allows problem identification and decision-making over increasingly larger scales. This describes a dynamic, rather than static, process. In this dynamic process of management within complex adaptive systems, power sharing is viewed as a result of co-management rather than a precondition.
The ‘maturing’ processes described in this article are a central element of adaptive learning. There is considerable research needed to better understand these processes, particularly in regard to the dynamic qualities of networks. Any new knowledge in this area will be heavily dependent on context. However a principle that is relatively universal, testable and useful for organisations attempting to create a culture of adaptive learning is to start by addressing small problems, proceeding through a cyclic process. In this way, the knowledge base is elaborated over time, along with trust and learning, and this may be potentially applied to increasingly more complex issues. This will require a particular emphasis and effort toward linking and co-ordination across projects and cases. These types of longitudinal approaches have potential value in providing much needed information in regard to knowledge creation, capacity building, elaboration of networks and collective learning processes generally.