A New Book

Assessing the Longitudinal Value of an Iterative Approach to Forest Management with Communities

Carol J. Pierce Colfer

By the time this newsletter is distributed, our new open access book, Responding to Environmental Issues through Adaptive Collaborative Management: From Forest Communities to Global Actors (edited by Carol J. Pierce Colfer and Ravi Prabhu, London: Earthscan, 2023), should be available on line and in print. It is the second in a series that documents the thoughts and analyses of nearly 100 researchers. Most of these authors had been involved in a then-experimental action research process (Adaptive Collaborative Management, or ACM) with communities in mainly tropical forests, beginning in the late 1990s and beyond. The first volume, Adaptive Collaborative Management of Forest Landscapes: Villagers, Bureaucrats and Civil Society (edited by Colfer, Prabhu and Anne Larson, London: Earthscan), also open access, was published in 2022. 

This second volume focuses on two regions: Indonesia (Java, Sulawesi, and Sumatra) and Africa (Cameroon, Malawi, Uganda and Zimbabwe). It includes actual revisits to sites where ACM had been implemented in the early 2000s (Jambi, Sumatra and Gokwe, Zimbabwe) and in the mid-2010s (Bulukumba, Sulawesi) – to assess what has endured from that earlier work and what has fallen away. Chapters from Malawi and Uganda look at formal attempts to institutionalize efforts like ACM (in Collaborative Forest Management and Participatory Forest Management); another chapter is a ‘thought experiment’ considering how an ACM-like process might be implemented on a broader scale to address flooding in Jakarta, Indonesia. Yet another chapter provides advice on how to do effective facilitation – an element utterly central to an ACM approach. The book concludes that although ACM has often been very effective, even enduring, on a micro-scale, the research and development world has to come up with better ways to upscale; not to abandon the microscale, but rather to a) enhance links between micro and broader scale actors and b) encourage learning and collaboration approaches at broader scales like those implemented locally. ACM is an iterative learning approach that is ‘unsurprised’ by early failures, and includes the expectation that re-analysis and overcoming obstacles will be part of any such collaborative process.  Such understandings – built on long term involvements that capture sociocultural realities, values, practices, goals -- are needed at broader scales as well.

For those who would like to buy or order the book for a library, this banner below provides a code for a reduced rate.

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