University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Land Economy Seminar Series > Lessons learned from a computer-assisted participatory planning and management process in UK's uplands

Lessons learned from a computer-assisted participatory planning and management process in UK's uplands

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In order to support stakeholders in adapting to socio-economic, environmental and policy pressures a group of researchers and key stakeholders joined forces to develop an iterative social learning process supported by computer models designed in a participatory modeling process. This paper details the genesis, development and operation of this approach to enabling adaptive co-management in a complex socio-ecological landscape situated in UK uplands. Instead of experimenting with new management activities and learning from the results of these actions, we used formal computer models to discuss with the stakeholders what the implications of their actions might be in terms of their own livelihoods and impacts on a range of ecosystem services. Including stakeholders in all stages of the process increases acceptance of the work and allows the inclusions of relevant multiple views and can enhance shared understanding. Participatory scenario modelling was found to be very useful as it enables surprises and changes in emphasis to be incorporated in the process. Selection and inclusion of the ‘right’ selection of stakeholders matching the spatially divers ranges of different ecosystem services is a key ingredient to a successful process. We experienced with a number of different participatory approaches and communication tools such as films outlining the key scenarios to reach also non-traditional stakeholder groups. To have a chance for the learning and adaptive management process to survive beyond the project duration a certain set of attitudes and organisational cultures are required that can facilitate processes where goals are negotiated and outcomes are necessarily uncertain.

This talk is part of the Land Economy Seminar Series series.

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