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ARDI: A Co-construction Method for Participatory Modeling in Natural Resources Management

Michel Etienne, INRA-Ecodevelopment Unit
Derick R Du Toit, AWARD
Sharon Pollard, AWARD


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The outcomes of a series of tests of the ARDI (Actors, Resources, Dynamics, and Interactions) method in complex cases or conflict-ridden situations is presented. ARDI is part of a companion modeling approach that makes it possible to engage a broad spectrum of stakeholders in the design and development of land and water management plans. It is based on participatory workshops that set out to collaboratively imagine a future open, dynamic management system, capable of adaptation and anticipation, by gathering the various stakeholders in a partnership to examine conservation of the natural resources and promoting a sustainable development. Its originality lies in the co-construction of a “conceptual model” of the functioning of the territory, according to an overarching, negotiated development question.

The approach is based on the collective articulation of the key elements of a context or territory by stakeholders such as managers, representatives, socio-professional technicians, nongovernmental organizations, experts, and scientists, and local policy makers. This sharing of representations is done by means of a series of collective workshops during which Actors, Resources, Dynamics, and Interactions constituting the profile of the territory are identified and clarified. This work of co-construction is conducted within a precise methodological framework that we present in a step-by-step format. The method is grounded in concrete experience gleened from tests conducted by the authors over the past five years. Finally, the requirement for specific skills as well as pitfalls to avoid when applying the method are discussed.

Key words

co-construction; collective mental model; conceptual model; facilitation; natural resources management; participatory modeling

Copyright © 2011 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