The Swedish authorities have, in several official reports, proposed an adaptive management approach, in order to ensure sustainable resource use in terms of oceans, terrestrial waters and wildlife. Adaptive management emphasizes that ecosystems are complex non-linear systems, in which the only certainty is uncertainty, and that management strategies must accept this as an integral part of the ecological system. Conversely, conventional resource management is characterized by the concept of command and control over resources, with the goal to maximize sustainable yield. Conventional resource management is associated with a top-down management structure, and it is reasonable to assume that fundamental institutional changes are required in order to replace conventional resource management with adaptive management. Changes in Swedish official policy have entailed increased management rights of property owners regarding moose management. In other words, due to the conversion of the top-down management system to a bottom-up system, the formal institutional prerequisites for local adaptive management systems presumably are in place regarding moose management. This is a quantitative study that assesses the extent of adaptive management currently in place within local moose management systems in an industrialized country. It can be assumed that one would be less likely to find adaptive management systems here, due to the fact that resource users are not dependent upon the resource for their livelihood, as opposed to the situation often existing in third world countries. A Moose Management Units (MMU) database has been established that contains variables, such as monitoring methods, goals regarding the size of the moose population, and so on, which can be operationalized as aspects of adaptive management. Since most research within the adaptive management literature consists of case studies, this study provides a complement to the research field. Results show that there are few aspects of adaptive management currently present in Swedish MMUs. Even though private landowners have extensive management rights, to date, they have not implemented central aspects of adaptive management, such as ecosystem management. The conversion of a top-down system characterized by single species management will not automatically turn into an adaptive management system, even though resource users have gained management rights. The public administration has a paramount role in implementing adaptive management, because it can provide knowledge, share information and advice, and promote learning. The traditional role of the public administration regarding moose management is that of enforcing and monitoring rules. However, since the potential of establishing MMUs has existed, this role has been undermined. It seems that the public administration is inflexible, and that the current organizational structure inhibits the establishment of adaptive management. Therefore, it is critical, prior to decentralization and deregulation, to ensure that the organizational structure of the public administration will promote and not inhibit the implementation of new management systems.
Biennial conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property : 19/06/2006 - 23/06/2006