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    Harvey Lemelin, R. 2009. Doubting Thomases and the Cougar: The Perceptions of Puma Management in Northern Ontario, Canada. Sociologia Ruralis, Vol. 49, Issue. 1, p. 56.

  • Print publication year: 2002
  • Online publication date: August 2009

9 - Facing the adaptive challenge: practitioners' insights from negotiating resource crises in Minnesota

    • By Kristen Blann, Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota, 200 Hodson Hall, 1980 Folwell Avenue, St Paul, Minnesota 55108, USA, Steve Light, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, 2105 1st Ave S., Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404–2505, USA, Jo Ann Musumeci, Three Oaks Research, 2606 Pleasant Ave. South, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55408–1441, USA
  • Edited by Fikret Berkes, University of Manitoba, Canada, Johan Colding, Beijer International Institute of Ecological Economics, Stockholm, Carl Folke, Beijer International Institute of Ecological Economics, Stockholm
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • pp 210-240


The chapter draws lessons and insights from interviews with practicing resource managers involved in leading diverse groups of primary interest groups through resource management crises and change. Each of these management efforts was perceived by the interviewed practitioners and others as experimenting with new ways to recouple and renew social–ecological systems. They represent a nested set of local and regional experiments within one organizational context, a state resource management agency that was intentionally trying to reorganize through novel approaches to management and citizen involvement (Fig. 9.1). All of the cases profiled were characterized by involvement of multiple stakeholders with competing interpretations, values, and goals for the resource system, and reflected a conscious design to engage citizens in creating alternative platforms for resource negotiation (Woodhill and Röling, 1998). In each case, practitioners were experimenting with learning to function differently, outside traditional norms of leadership.

The goal of this study was to identify management practices and frameworks that are founded on knowledge and understanding of dynamics in both human and ecological systems, and to identify the key elements contributing to adaptive response. In this chapter, we develop a matrix based on the release and reorganization phases of the Holling adaptive cycle in an attempt to classify the ‘tacit understanding,’ or intuitive guiding principles, which emerged in interviews. Practitioners articulated principles loosely, drawing metaphors from systems theory and chaos theory, organization and change management, and ecosystem management.

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Navigating Social-Ecological Systems
  • Online ISBN: 9780511541957
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