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Knowledge Use in Co-Management

Knowledge Use in Co-Management

Principal investigator: Dr Chris Jacobson
Staff involved: Dr Janet Stephenson, Rauru Kirikiri
Team members: Dr Chris Jacobson, Dr Janet Stephenson, Rauru Kirikiri, Professor Helen Ross (University of Queensland, Australia), Professor Fikret Berkes (University of Manitoba, Canada)

Brief abstract

In this project, we are interested in the co-management of resources and places (e.g. wildlife, protected areas) by the government and indigenous groups. Examples include Auyuittuq National Park in Canada, Uluŗu-Kata Tjuţa National Park in Australia, and Te Waihora in New Zealand. "Co-management" involves shared responsibility for the management of a resource. We use the term broadly, recognizing that the terms "Joint Management" and "Co-governance" are used to convey a similar concept in Australia and New Zealand, respectively.

An important aspect of any co-management arrangement is the contribution each person makes. Many indigenous groups contributing to co-management would like to apply their knowledge to achieve better outcomes. Knowledge can influence:

  • Which things are considered important to manage (e.g. values)
  • How values are managed
  • Monitoring and evaluation (e.g. determining the effectiveness of actions)
  • Management processes (e.g. how new knowledge is added to existing knowledge)

In this project, we want to understand how knowledge is used in co-management activities. We are particularly interested in whether co-management delivers on indigenous peoples’ visions for how their knowledge could be applied in co-management, and whether these visions are achieved. We are also interested in hearing people's experiences in applying indigenous knowledge and local community knowledge together with scientific knowledge.

Our project will be completed in the following four stages:

  1. Analysis of books and reports to identify interests in sharing indigenous knowledge and applying it as part of co-management of resources
  2. Interviews of co-management partners to see how they want their knowledge (and other people’s knowledge) to be used, whether they are satisfied with what happens, and the ways that organizational processes (e.g. requirement for decisions to be underpinned by scientific information) affect this;
  3. Workshops to explore the key issues from interviews;
  4. A video-conference for case-study participants to discuss similarities in experiences.

Our project involves examples of co-management from New Zealand and Australia. We want to learn if experiences are similar or different, and why. This will help us to understand if lessons about how to produce good outcomes for indigenous people can be taken from one country and applied in another. The project will help identify where things are working well, and where they could be improved.