Learning and Knowledge
This principle addresses the significance of people’s knowledge, experience and understanding of complex ecosystems, their inclusion in management systems and their complement to conventional management. With institutional support, combining different ways of knowledge and learning styles can allow different stakeholders to collaborate, even with uncertainty and limited information.
Traditional and local knowledge systems — Traditional ecological knowledge is complex and represents decades of societal and institutional learning about species, environments and their interactions accrued and passed down over multiple generations.1 Traditional resource management systems (e.g., customary marine tenures, taboos and traditional fishing patterns) that have evolved from this knowledge are not mere traditions but adaptive responses of the community that have evolved over time. These systems are known to be effective in certain areas because they are embedded in local institutions and value systems. The application of traditional ecological knowledge to customary ecological management plans can be useful for MPA networks or coastal resource management programs.
Transformational learning — This aspect of the learning and knowledge principle is a key factor for enhancing the resilience of a social system. Successful transformational learning towards adaptive governance includes the following:
- Learning as people use and manage resources
- Monitoring and accumulating knowledge on the way
- Periodically adjusting the rules that shape behavior to match the dynamics in the system
Collaborative planning and participation — Collaborative planning and participation of stakeholders at all stages of marine resource management (i.e., design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation) is critical for effectiveness. Institutional support is needed for effective collaboration. Public participation builds trust, enhances legitimacy of rules and regulations and ensures the sustainability of management implementation plans by providing stakeholders a sense of ownership or responsibility for the management arrangements.2