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Social Learning Processes in Natural Resource Management: the Role of Learning, Negotiation and Social Capital for more Sustainable Natural Resource Management

Final Report Summary - SLINNRM (Social Learning Processes in Natural Resource Management: the Role of Learning, Negotiation and Social Capital for more Sustainable Natural Resource Management)

There is a growing interest within environmental and natural resource management for learning-based approaches that emphasise experimentation and reflective practice. In this context, an emerging conceptual construct about which much has been written is social learning. Social learning has been used in relation to a number of resource issues and is currently attracting the interest of researchers and practitioners. Social learning was also at the core of this post-doctoral research project, which has received funds from the seventh framework programme of the European Union (Marie Cure-Action IEF). The project had two main objectives; one was to undertake an extensive review of the social learning literature in order to search for emerging trends and themes, while a second objective was to undertake an empirical study and investigate learning processes in a real-world situation.
Thus, the review of the social learning literature involved a sample of 97 publications published after peer-review which were scrutinised against selected analytical items. Namely, we searched for trends in how the concept is used, have analysed methodological choices and interdisciplinary influences. The analysis led to results published in scientific articles and monograph chapters.
Also, the research involved two case studies where we have investigated learning processes and the role of social capital. One is a case of resources managed under a common-pool regime, where we focused on learning interactions and role of social capital. The second case involved the appraisal of learning processes in relation to a participatory process used for the design of a Natura 2000 management plan. Both are located in the North-East of Italy.