Community clusters in wildlife and environmental management: using TEK and community involvement to improve co-management in an era of rapid environmental change

Article English OPEN
Dowsley, Martha (2009)

Environmental change has stressed wildlife co-management systems in the Arctic because parameters are changing more rapidly than traditional scientific monitoring can accommodate. Co-management systems have also been criticized for not fully integrating harvesters into the local management of resources. These two problems can be approached through the use of spatiallydefined human social units termed community clusters, which are based on the demographic or ecological units being managed. An examination of polar bear management in Nunavut Territory, Canada, shows that community clusters provide a forum to collect and analyse traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) over a geographic area that mirrors the management unit, providing detailed information of local conditions. This case study also provides examples of how instituting community clusters at a governance level provides harvesters with social space in which to develop their roles as managers, along the continuum from being powerless spectators to active, adaptive co-managers. Five steps for enhancing co-management systems through the inclusion of community clusters and their knowledge are: (1) the acceptance of TEK, science, the precautionary principle and the right of harvesters not to be constrained by overly-conservative management decisions; (2) data collection involving TEK and science, and a collaboration between the two; (3) institutionalization of community clusters for data collection; (4) institutionalization of community clusters in the management process; and (5) grass-roots initiatives to take advantage of the social space provided by the community cluster approach, in order to adapt the management to local conditions, and to effect policy changes at higher levels, so as to better meet local objectives.
  • References (112)
    112 references, page 1 of 12

    Aars J., Lunn N.J. & Derocher A.E. (eds.) 2006. Polar bears: proceedings of the 14th Working Meeting of the IUCN/SSC Polar Bear Specialist Group, 20-24 June 2005, Seattle, Washington, USA. Gland, Switzerland: International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

    Amstrup S. 1995. Movements, distribution, and population dynamics of polar bears in the Beaufort Sea. PhD thesis, University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

    Amstrup S.C., McDonald T.L. & Durner G.M. 2004. Using satellite radiotelemetry data to delineate and manage wildlife populations. Wildlife Society Bulletin 32, 661-679.

    Armitage D.R. 2005. Community-based narwhal management in Nunavut, Canada: change, uncertainty, and adaptation. Society and Natural Resources 18, 715-731.

    Berkes F. 2004. Rethinking community-based conservation. Conservation Biology 18, 621-630.

    Berkes F., Berkes M.K. & Fast H. 2007. Collaborative integrated management in Canada's North: the role of local and traditional knowledge and community-based monitoring. Coastal Management 35, 143-162.

    Berkes F. & Jolly D. 2002. Adapting to climate change: social-ecological resilience in a Canadian western Arctic community. Conservation Ecology 5(2), article no. 18.

    Berman M. & Kofinas G. 2004. Hunting for models: grounded and rational choice approaches to analyzing climate effects on subsistence hunting in an Arctic community. Ecological Economics 49, 31-46.

    Bethke R., Taylor M., Amstrup S. & Messier F. 1996. Population delineation of polar bears using satellite collar data. Ecological Applications 6, 311-317.

    Born E.W. 2005. An assessment of the effects of hunting and climate on walruses in Greenland. PhD thesis, Natural History Museum, University of Oslo.

  • Metrics
    No metrics available
Share - Bookmark