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Exploring the pathways, prospects, and pitfalls of adaptive collaborative management in Sierra Leone: a critical political ecology analysis

Massaquoi, A.-B. S. (2017) Exploring the pathways, prospects, and pitfalls of adaptive collaborative management in Sierra Leone: a critical political ecology analysis. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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Using the lens of critical political ecology, this thesis explores the pathways, prospects, and pitfalls of Adaptive Collaborative Management (ACM) of Forest Protected Areas (FPAs) in Sierra Leone based on two case studies in the Gola Rainforest National Park (GRNP). ACM has been extensively promoted in recent years among policy-makers and researchers as an interdisciplinary method to address multi-scale, multi-level society-environment dilemmas because of its strong emphasis on participation and learning. Yet, the concept of ACM is very broad, and documentation of its main achievements and shortcomings, especially in resource and capacity-challenged African countries has been very limited. The situation is particularly worrisome given that many scholars are already proposing that ACM could provide a useful mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) in the context of global climate change governance. To effectively explore the nature of participation and learning in ACM, as well as the underlying influence of institutions and power relations, the thesis utilizes a mixed method approach combining surveys, interviews, focus groups, and documents-in-use. The results indicate that despite considerable effort and some success, significant shortcomings are evident. The ACM-based forest governance in the GRNP scarcely resulted in shared decision-making; downward accountability; and increased opportunities for knowledge co-production. Severe challenges were also noted regarding the equitable distribution of benefits; ownership, commitment and trust. Furthermore, ACM practices appear to provide a facade for centralized forest governance by surreptitiously strengthening the remits and political influence of the state and international agencies at the expense of local communities. In the context of REDD+, ACM could reinforce, or at least be undermined by power asymmetries and capacity challenges that can affect its legitimacy and effectiveness. Therefore, this thesis recommends priority investments in enhancing the adaptive capacity of local institutions and improving access to, and allocation of conservation benefits.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Okereke, C.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Archaeology, Geography & Environmental Science
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:78263


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