Adapting prospective structural analysis to strengthen sustainable management and capacity building in community-based natural resource management contexts

  17 November 2017

Delgado-Serrano M.M., Vanwildemeersch P., London, S., Ortíz Guerrero, C., Escalante, R. and Rojas, M.

Ecology and Society 21(2):36.

Abstract: Local communities collectively managing common pool resources can play an important role in sustainable management, but they often lack the skills and context-specific tools required for such management. The complex dynamics of social-ecological systems (SES), the need for management capacities, and communities’ limited empowerment and participation skills present challenges for community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) strategies. We analyzed the applicability of prospective structural analysis (PSA), a strategic foresight tool, to support decision making and to foster sustainable management and capacity building in CBNRM contexts and the modifications necessary to use the tool in such contexts. By testing PSA in three SES in Colombia, Mexico, and Argentina, we gathered information regarding the potential of this tool and its adaptation requirements. The results suggest that the tool can be adapted to these contexts and contribute to fostering sustainable management and capacity building. It helped identify the systems’ dynamics, thus increasing the communities’ knowledge about their SES and informing the decision-making process. Additionally, it drove a learning process that both fostered empowerment and built participation skills. The process demanded both time and effort, and required external monitoring and facilitation, but community members could be trained to master it. Thus, we suggest that the PSA technique has the potential to strengthen CBNRM and that other initiatives could use it, but they must be aware of these requirements.