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Can Adaptive Comanagement Help to Address the Challenges of Climate Change Adaptation?

Ryan Plummer, Brock University, Canada; Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweden

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-05699-180402

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Abstract

A shift is taking place within environmental governance that draws attention to modes and instruments that respond to system dynamics, uncertainty, and contested values. Adaptive comanagement is one process being advanced to make governance operational as it emphasizes collaboration among diverse actors, functions across scales and levels, and fosters learning though iterative feedback. Although extensive experience with adaptive comanagement has been gained in relation to other environmental and resource issues, its potential contribution to the governance of adaption is largely unexplored. This paper probes how adaptive comanagement might offer support to climate change adaptation and identifies gaps in knowledge requiring attention. In drawing upon existing literature and applied experiences, it is argued that adaptive comanagement may contribute to climate change adaptation by building generalized adaptive capacity as well as providing a novel institutional arrangement to generate adaptive responses. At the same time, several questions emerge about adaptive comanagement in this context. Considerations are thus discussed for adaptive comanagement scholarship and application in addressing the challenge of climate change adaptation.

Key words

adaptive capacity; adaptive comanagement; adaptive responses; climate change adaptation; environmental governance
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087