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THE INVISIBLE WAND Adaptive Co-Management as an Emergent Strategy in Complex Bio-Economic Systems A Paper written by Jack Ruitenbeek and Cynthia Cartier.

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Presentation on theme: "THE INVISIBLE WAND Adaptive Co-Management as an Emergent Strategy in Complex Bio-Economic Systems A Paper written by Jack Ruitenbeek and Cynthia Cartier."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE INVISIBLE WAND Adaptive Co-Management as an Emergent Strategy in Complex Bio-Economic Systems A Paper written by Jack Ruitenbeek and Cynthia Cartier Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) Occasional Paper No. 34, October 2001 Presentation by Rowan B. Martin Paradigm: Of Panarchies and Complex Systems illustrated with René Magrittes paintings

2 Paradigm: Of Panarchies and Complex Systems The local resource user often has the keenest insights into how things work in the local system and the insights may be surprising

3 The fisheries are collapsing because of the nude sunbathers on the beach – Saudi Fisherman Paradigm: Of Panarchies and Complex Systems

4 Simple cause-effect models of yesteryear are falling by the wayside... E = mc 2 Just as Newtons laws of physics gave way to Einsteins Special Theory of Relativity... and this in turn gave way to a General Theory... (F) = ( )... we are now entering an era where the science of complexity has found its toe-hold Paradigm: Of Panarchies and Complex Systems

5 both creates and conserves because the interactions among cycles combine learning Panarchy describes the evolving nature of complex adaptive systems. The panarchy which is the complex adaptive system of ecology, economy and society with continuity within and across levels and scales New structures and processes emerge from the interaction of adaptive cycles Paradigm: Of Panarchies and Complex Systems

6 Resilience (or the lack thereof) is manifest in the interaction of adaptive cycles – fast cycles provide variability and novelty for experiments – slower cycles provide persistence and stability while accumulating and conserving successful experiments – slow cycles protect while the fast cycles innovate – diversity at any level, whether of species or cultures or ideas, increases adaptive capacity Resilience is at the heart of sustainability Paradigm: Of Panarchies and Complex Systems

7 In a complex adaptive system the players seek to adapt Adaptation occurs to achieve some desirable level of success or performance Strategies which do not work disappear Learning happens Variation and experimentation drive the learning By appreciating how knowledge and novelty is created and incorporated it may be possible to identify points where human intervention can improve system resilience and sustainability Paradigm: Of Panarchies and Complex Systems

8 Lessons from complex systems may be directly transferable between systems 1.A balance is needed between exploitation of existing ideas and the exploration for new ideas FREQUENCY SPECTRUM ω 2ω2ω5ω5ω10ω It is unwise for any system to remain locked for too long at either end of the frequency spectrum Paradigm: Of Panarchies and Complex Systems – LESSONS

9 2.Networks must foster trust and cooperation Such networks – – harness complexity in a positive manner – build social capital – this capital facilitates adaptation – it is easier to destroy this capital than to create it A system which is only partially evolved may be best left alone to continue evolving at its own pace rather than suffer attempts to accelerate its evolution... added social capital Here, the net outcome of experimentation lies above the mean, resulting in... Paradigm: Of Panarchies and Complex Systems – LESSONS

10 3.Assess strategies in the light of how consequences spread – look for linkages in unusual places e.g. the Saudi fisherman Paradigm: Of Panarchies and Complex Systems – LESSONS

11 4. Promote effective neighbourhoods People often congregate with like-minded people but they also like a bit of variety or diversity Complex systems which lack this component are often lousy – and for the population as a whole – both for the individual Paradigm: Of Panarchies and Complex Systems – LESSONS

12 5. Use social criteria to promote the spread of valued traits Studies of incentives and disincentives in bio-economic systems tend to focus on monetary reward 6. In assessing progress towards high-level goals seek simple lower level criteria which tell the same story 7. Leadership plays a critical rôle in successful complex systems A single individual advocating a particular stategy is often copied – this is a powerful design and policy tool in any system and often miss those criteria which are valued locally Paradigm: Of Panarchies and Complex Systems – LESSONS

13 Complex systems which escape failure are those with inbuilt redundancy 8. Do not sow failures in order to gain small efficiencies Design optimisation may produce brittle systems In a complex system, even minor interventions in seemingly non-critical areas may have significant impact... the Butterfly Effect Paradigm: Of Panarchies and Complex Systems – LESSONS

14 9. Be slow to assign blame or attribute credit Very often failure is diagnosed as emanating from a small part of a system when in fact the whole system is to blame It is common to attribute success to one set of factors when a different set is responsible At the root of this syndrome may be the specific incentives driving individuals within the system Paradigm: Of Panarchies and Complex Systems – LESSONS

15 Hypothesis Adaptive Co-Management is an emergent property of a complex bio-economic system H0H0 Paradigm: Of Panarchies and Complex Systems


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