Beyond the second generation: Towards adaptiveness in participatory forest management

Anna Lawrence

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


The concepts of adaptive management and participatory forest management (PFM) reflect an increasingly holistic relationship between society and its forests. Adaptiveness depends on learning processes. This review considers the ways in which PFM has been assessed in recent literature and focuses on the role of learning, through cross-cutting quantitative analyses, project monitoring and evaluation, and participatory research and experimentation. Such literature highlights the importance of policy, and the gap between legislation and implementation; social and institutional arrangements; appropriate silviculture and monitoring, and the participatory methods needed to develop it. Much of this is analysed at the local or national scale, but emerging discourses on forest governance highlight the need for partnership, organizational learning, and adaptiveness across a range of spatial scales and cultural perspectives. The review concludes that the common factors in adaptive PFM are context specificity, tenure and institutional security, reliable and relevant information, and learning processes, leading to adaptive technology, institutions and organisations, underpinned by close attention to ecology. This is summarized in an analysis proposing a broad evolutionary pattern from 'first generation' attention to structural factors such as tenure and formal roles and relationships, through 'second generation' concerns emerging from experience of diversity and inequity, to a more qualitative, actor-centred approach to learning and adaptation. The big challenges for PFM are adaptive technology, requiring participatory research in silviculture, sustainable harvesting and monitoring; and adaptive organizations and institutions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number028
JournalCAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2007


  • Adaptive collaborative management
  • Common property
  • Community forestry
  • Organizational learning
  • Participatory research
  • Policy
  • Silviculture
  • Social learning
  • Sustainability
  • Tenure


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