Adaptive management for carbon in the Dark Peak.

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Abstract Dark Peak of the Peak District National Park represents a complex socio-ecological system (SES) that is adapting to a changing climate and shifting policy context. This project used adaptive management to understand how the peak district can manage for carbon in the face of chronic scientific uncertainty. Adaptive management emphasises the importance of institutions in facilitating collaborative knowledge production that uses the knowledge of all stakeholders to reach better, more legitimate management decisions. The key results from our project are as follows:• Stakeholder mapping identified three critical groups of stakeholders in relation to carbon management in the Dark Peak social-ecological system: the scientific community, statutory bodies/policy-makers and land managers/owners. • Interviews revealed that there is high interest amongst all stakeholder groups in the carbon agenda. However, it is tempered by the scientific uncertainty surrounding peatland carbon dynamics, and conflicting interests between the different stakeholder groups. • Social Network Analysis suggests that carbon stakeholders in the Dark Peak form a very well connected network with strong communication ties. While it appears that no stakeholder is disconnected or completely marginalised, knowledge produced by certain types of stakeholders is simply disseminated, rather than being produced in a collaborative and iterative way. • Land managers have valuable lay knowledge about the Dark Peak socio-ecological system that, if included in the process of knowledge production, would improve land management policies and generate buy-in for decisions taken under conditions of inherent uncertainty. • Existing collaborative management arrangements between land managers provide great potential for improving and enhancing these knowledge ties that could lead to more successful and stronger collaboration around carbon management within the network. • Involving all the key stakeholders in knowledge production may produce more robust carbon management and enhance trust amongst those implementing the plans. This would however require a shift from the traditional linear model of knowledge production to a cyclical one where all stakeholders are involved in a process of ‘learning while doing’. • Co-producing knowledge about carbon management strategies thus requires innovative governance mechanisms and engagement strategies, for example that experiment and learn with different management strategies. Ways in which to facilitate this kind of learning warrant further research.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEdale, Derbyshire
PublisherMoorland Research Fund – MRF0310 Report for Moors for the Future
Number of pages46
Publication statusPublished - 2011