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Facilitating Cooperation During Times Of Chaos: Spontaneous Orders And Muddling Through In Malinau District, Indonesia

Eva Wollenberg, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
Ramses Iwan, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
Godwin Limberg, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
Moira Moeliono, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
Steve Rhee, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
Made Sudana, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)


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Adaptive management has become increasingly common where natural resource managers face complex and uncertain conditions. The collaboration required among managers and others to do adaptive management, however, is not always easy to achieve. We describe efforts to work with villagers and government officials in Malinau, East Kalimantan Indonesia, where a weak, uncertain institutional setting and complex shifting political landscape made formal cooperation among these groups for forest management problematic. Through successive trials, the team learned instead to work with and enhance a “spontaneous order” of cooperation using four tactics: (1) continuous physical presence, (2) regular contact with the people who advised and were close to major decision makers, (3) maintenance of multiple programs to fit the needs of different interest groups, and (4) hyperflexibility in resource allocation and schedules.

Key words

Key words: adaptive collaborative management; Borneo; chaos; Kalimantan; spontaneous cooperation.

Copyright © 2007 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087