Learning, governance and livelihoods : toward adaptive co-management under resource poor conditions in South Africa

Cundill, G. (2008) Learning, governance and livelihoods : toward adaptive co-management under resource poor conditions in South Africa. PhD thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

Through collaborative monitoring and case study comparison, this thesis explores conceptual and methodological approaches to monitoring transitions toward adaptive co-management. In so doing, a number of knowledge gaps are addressed. Firstly, conceptual and methodological frameworks are developed for monitoring transitions toward adaptive co-management. Secondly, a conceptual and practical approach to monitoring the processes of collaboration and learning is developed and tested. Thirdly, a conceptual and practical approach to monitoring the governance outcomes of adaptive co-management is developed and tested. Fourthly, a conceptual and practical approach to monitoring the livelihood outcomes of adaptive co-management is developed and tested. Based on the outcomes from these four components of the study, this thesis explores the ways in which transitions toward adaptive co-management might be initiated under the resource poor conditions that characterise South Africa‘s communal areas. The four case studies explored in the study are described as ‗resource poor‘ in terms of institutional capacity, ecosystem productivity and social vulnerability. From a resilience perspective these case studies can be described as being in the re-organisation phase of the adaptive cycle following multiple disturbances over time, largely due to South Africa‘s historical ‗separate development‘ policies. Scholars have suggested that it is in this re-organisation phase that innovation and novelty might occur. The lens of social learning is applied to analyse collaborative processes within these contexts. Results indicate that the institutional innovation necessary for transitions toward adaptive co-management relies on careful facilitation by an ‗honest broker‘. Equally important is finding a balance between maintaining key individuals and knowledge holders within decision making networks, and preventing rigidity and vulnerability within communities of practice. The results point to an over simplification in the rhetoric that currently surrounds the learning outcomes of multi level networks. The governance outcomes of the initiatives are explored through the lenses of adaptive governance, social capital, adaptive capacity and self-organisation. Results indicate that under resource poor conditions creating the conditions that facilitate self-organisation is the major challenge facing transformations toward adaptive governance. Long term access to reliable information and capacity and financial support for adaptive management are key constraining variables. The livelihood outcomes of the initiatives are analysed through the lens of resilience and diversification. Results suggest that flexibility, rather than livelihood diversity, is the key livelihood strategy employed by households in situations were options are limited. Interventions that enhance opportunities for households to specialise in situ by actively dealing with structural constraints, such as access to markets and credit, is vital to encouraging innovation during transitions toward adaptive co-management. Based on the results from monitoring, this study identifies key focus areas that require a great deal more attention if transitions toward adaptive co-management are to be initiated under resource poor conditions.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Rural poor, Rural development, Sustainable development
Subjects:Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Environmental Science
ID Code:2000
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:16 Aug 2011 09:36
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:21
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