ICDP, Adaptive Management, and Social Capital
The definition that most practitioners give about Integrated Conservation Development Projects or ICDPs is that they are biodiversity conservation projects through the application of sustainable development. It links biodiversity conservation in protected areas with local socio-economic development. So basically, it aims to address both ends of the table: economic development (in terms of financial benefits) and conservation of biodiversity. Through this ICDP, conservation can be done while providing the locals with other sources of livelihood to compensate for the income and products they would have earned from the protected areas. Several assumptions serve as basis for ICDP. The first is that biodiversity conservation can best be accomplished through activities in the site itself, the next assumption is about managing natural resources at a level that will allow the resources to be easily replenished. The third assumption is that economic incentives are identifiable and feasible and management level devolves to the local level. The fourth is that technical solutions should exist in order to improve resource management and biodiversity protection. The last assumption is that mitigation of poverty and rural development will eventually lead to resource conservation and the maintenance of biodiversity.
In order to achieve the goals of ICDP, there should be adequate balance between conservation and meeting the needs of the locality. This idea is generally called the adaptive management strategy (Anwar, 1996). Adaptive management is an approach with the perspective of managements considered as experiments, wherein the results from one generation of study would inform of subsequent decisions. A cynical approach to this process would mean that policies are modifiable depending on the circumstances and the people’s learning. The process starts with identifying what the goals and problems are, and then requiring the need for developing a new appropriate policy. The process is repeatable as it offers each stage the potential to involve several groups and give them the opportunity to learn from each other.
The process involves adaptive learning and feedback control. The experiments in the process are not done in a large scale biological system because it is impossible to conduct continuous experiment in such settings. This why management would just provide the information needed for the next implementation. This part is known as adaptive learning, or learning by doing. On the other hand, feedback control to natural resource management shows that it is possible to maintain a target response or output, as long as the knowledge about the target is present.
Adaptive management is the one responsible for permitting the modification of initial execution plans while the plan is being carried out, so the lack of adaptive management would surely limit the Integrated Conservation and Development Projects. But even with the presence of adaptive management, there is still the need for the ICPDs to face the challenge of understanding the state of their problem. This is where the cooperation of the locality is needed, though it is quite hard and challenging to motive these local people to join ICDPs because it may not be of their interest, as it can be in conflict with some of their endeavors. This is where the concept of social capital comes in, as it discusses the importance of the locals surrounding the ICDPs.
Social capital is defined as the preferable relationship which is needed to form and maintain a healthy community in the urban and rural levels. The central role of development is more on the community, rather than the relationships of the people living in the community. When the functioning of groups is taken into consideration, it is important to know and identify the characteristics of individual connections, whether on a national or a local community level.
The concept of ICDP involves so many assumptions, and involves too many stakeholders, making it hard to put into motion the process which has been planned initially. In order to address this problem, ICDPs must be able to develop a system which effectively refines and enhances the initial plans. This is where adaptive management comes in. It is a key element, since it involves the idea of monitoring, evaluating, and the reformulating of management activities in the context of biology and environment. But the adaptive management idea is not enough to address the problems of ICDPs and assure them of success, since adaptive management also has limitations and constraints. So in order to address this problem, the social capital should be considered. It is efficient to involve the local people, as it is applicable to conservation because of the concept of mutual beneficial collective action. This accelerates the structural social capital thus enhancing the cognitive social capital, consequently contributing to the modification of ICDP as well as adaptive management. This is possible in the sense that the participation of the local people would provide them the indigenous knowledge, thus helping to protect the planners in understanding the situation thoroughly and more comprehensively (Johannesen, 2004).
In the case study about the COMACO in Zambia, the concept about heavy usage of natural resources is the main concern this is because there is no ready access to financial capital. There is also the lack of exposure to modern technology, which is why the region is generally dependent on the natural resources. Without ICDPs, the depletion of the natural resources would be imminent. People would opt to cut more and more trees to be used in buildings, as well as use rudimentary technology which would waste them more and more resources. ICDP and its related process is really beneficial in this part, though one concern would be the acceptance of the people. Another problem is the implementation, as it would relate to several concerns, including man power, budget, and the local involvement.
Another case is about the Forest Restoration Research Unit in North Thailand. Since deforestation is one of the main problems in biodiversity in Thailand, there is a need to address this concern through forest restoration. One aspect to consider here is the economical value of the project. This is because forest restoration would me halting timber production in the area, thus resulting to increased amount of imported timber. The key point in this case is the government participation, as it supports the project in every step, though it is very hard to pursue since the forests have been the major source of timber for the whole country.
Anwar. (1996). Integrated Conservation and Development Project. Retrieved June 28, 2008, from http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTINDONESIA/FLEG/20171740/Anwar.pdf
Johannesen, A. B. (2004). Designing Integrated Conservation and Development Projects (ICDPs): Illegal hunting, wildlife conservation and the welfare of the local people. Working Paper Series(Issue 2), 42.