Browsing by Subject "natural resource management"

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  • Fobissie Blese, Kalame; Kanninen, Markku Tapani; Etongo, Daniel (Viikki Tropical Resource Institute, University of Helsinki, 2016)
    VITRI Brief
  • Kettunen, Anni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Environmental problems are usually complex in nature, encompass uncertainties and affect multiple actors and groups of people in multiple ways. Hence, managing these problems requires transparent decision making that takes into consideration diverse values, perceptions and knowledge of those groups. Decisions that are made in a participatory decision-making process are more likely to express public values and local knowledge than decisions made in top-down management processes. Collaboration has become a ubiquitous concept within the context of participatory planning and environmental management. It is used in describing a wide array of participatory approaches and it is often used as a tool in managing wicked problems. However, participatory approaches do not guarantee better success in solving environmental problems. Hence, it is crucial to deliberate what kind of approach is used and what kind of situations it suits. This master’s thesis examines Metsähallitus’ participatory natural resource planning (NRP) process through the concept of collaboration. The study encompasses two mutually supporting parts: a case study about Metsähallitus’ natural resource planning process for Southern Finland 2017-2022 and an equality analysis encompassing altogether four cooperation groups from natural resource planning processes. The aim of the study is to find out how trust building, commitment, social capital and stakeholders’ opportunities to influence decision-making were realized in the NRP process of Southern Finland. In addition, aspects of equality in natural resource planning are examined. Data of the case study consists of seven qualitative semi-structured interviews. Data is analyzed according to the principles of qualitative content analysis. Data of the equality analysis consists of six NRP cooperation groups’ participant lists and the data is analyzed with quantitative content analysis. Based on the results, opportunities to participate actualize most efficiently in the operational level of the cooperation group. The methods used and facilitator’s contribution enhance the realization of equality within the cooperation group. Stakeholders reported a few defects concerning equal processing of values and interests. For example, topics regarding forestry overweighs other topics. The representativeness of stakeholders was considered good. Representatives of public agencies are most frequently participating of all stakeholder groups. Every fifth participant was a woman. What comes to social capital, one of the main results was increased mutual understanding among stakeholders that resulted from learning from each other in the process. Stakeholders’ perceptions of their opportunities to influence decision-making were labeled partly by contentment and realism, but partly by a low level of expectations. Opportunity to influence in decision-making is a remarkable factor for commitment and motivation to participate. The context of NRP-process also affects the planning and its results, but further research on this topic is needed and I propose this as one future research topic. More research is also needed to evaluate on how one of the main principles of collaboration, sharing decision-making power, affects natural resource planning and its results, if adopted.
  • Toure, Ibrahim; Larjavaara, Markku; Savadogo, Patrice; Bayala, Jules; Yirdaw, Eshetu; Diakite, Adama (2020)
    Land degradation (LD) in Mali is prevalent and leads to an enduring environmental and humanitarian crisis. Farmers' ecological knowledge has proven to be a valuable tool in addressing its challenges. How farmers perceive LD affects how they deal with induced risks, and their responses to these perceptions will shape restoration options and outcomes. Therefore, this study assessed farmers' perceptions of LD along a climatic gradient in three regions of Mali. We interviewed 270 farmers, and we analyzed their responses using descriptive statistics and Spearman rank‐order correlation. We found that the respondents were aware of LD and have identified its key indicators and its impacts on their livelihoods. Moreover, we found that farmers' perceptions are not influenced by gender, age, or education level, but rather by agricultural training, participation in agricultural labor, the practice of fallowing, shortage of firewood, livestock, household size, appearance of some plant species and famine. Additionally, farmers' perceptions of LD vary along the climatic gradient as they correlate to different variables in each agro‐ecological zone. LD's impacts, however, decrease in severity along the north–south gradient, although they are linked to the same variables. As LD is seen through a reduction of ecosystem services provisioning capacity because of the local communities' heavy dependence on natural resources, actions should be geared towards agronomic and vegetative land management options. Such actions should prioritize context‐specific soil and water conservation techniques and proven indigenous practices.