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Assessing the Impact of Integrated Natural Resource Management: Challenges and Experiences

María Verónica Gottret, Institute of Social Studies
Douglas C White, Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical

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Abstract

Assessing the impact of integrated natural resource management (INRM) research poses a challenge to scientists. The complexity of INRM interventions requires a more holistic approach to impact assessment, beyond the plot and farm levels and beyond traditional analysis of economic returns. Impact assessment for INRM combines the traditional "what" and "where" factors of economic and environmental priorities with newer "who" and "how" aspects of social actors and institutions. This paper presents an analytical framework and methodology for assessing the impact of INRM. A key feature of the proposed methodology is that it starts with a detailed planning process that develops a well-defined, shared, and holistic strategy to achieve development impact. This methodology, which is known as the "paths of development impact" methodology, includes the mapping of research outputs, intermediate outcomes, and development impacts. A central challenge is to find a balance between the use of generalizable measures that facilitate cross-site comparison and slower participatory process methods that empower local stakeholders. Sufficient funding for impact assessment and distinct stakeholder interests are also challenges. Two hillside sites in Central America and one forest margin site in Peru serve as case studies.

Key words

agriculture, impact assessment, integrated natural resource management, monitoring and evaluation, natural resources, sustainable rural livelihoods
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087