chapter  6
39 Pages

Learning in contested landscapes: applying adaptive collaborative management in forested landscapes of Zimbabwe


This chapter reviews the experience of the adaptive collaborative management (ACM) approach and strategies as they were applied in practice in Mafungautsi State Forest in Zimbabwe. In doing this, we draw key lessons on what worked or did not work, why, and how ACM could be applied in a contested resource governance situation. The ACM approach was initiated by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in 1999 with the aim of exploring whether it would simultaneously result in positive changes in people’s well being and enhance the sustainable management of resources. The new approach was implemented in several countries, including in Mafungautsi State Forest in Zimbabwe, the focus of this chapter. The approach has its roots in ideas from several disciplines relating to complex system behaviour, adaptive management, social learning theory, and ideas by sociologists (and others) about the roots of human cooperation and competition. Because of the complex nature of natural resource management, the ACM approach aims to facilitate collaboration among stakeholders in consciously learning together about the impacts of their management actions and adapting their practices accordingly.