Human Ecology

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 593–614 | Cite as

Adaptive Learning Networks: Developing Resource Management Knowledge through Social Learning Forums

  • Iain J. Davidson-Hunt


The purpose of this paper is to explore adaptive learning networks as a contemporary means by which new resource management knowledge can develop through social learning forums. The paper draws upon recent discussions within two disparate literatures on indigenous knowledge and network theory and is grounded in fieldwork with two Anishinaabe First Nations in northwestern Ontario. The paper has three objectives. First, problematize the principle of representation as a basic way of including the knowledge of indigenous peoples within natural resource and environmental management. Second, utilize network theory as a way to weave together adaptive learning by individuals into a cross-cultural social learning process. Finally, propose an adaptive natural resources and environmental framework that brings together, through a social learning process, the different ways individuals, indigenous peoples and resource managers, perceive environmental change.


resource management adaptive learning social learning indigenous knowledge networks 



I could not have completed this research without the assistance of the Shoal Lake Resource Institute of Iskatewizaagegan #39 Independent First Nation (IIFN) and the Whitefeather Forest Management Corporation of Pikangikum First Nation (PFN). I also thank the Chiefs and Councils of IIFN and PFN, who over the years have changed, but as administrations have been supportive. Financial support was provided by the Sustainable Forest Management Network (SFMN) and by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Fikret Berkes and Nancy Turner provided the impetus for this paper by providing an opportunity to present preliminary thinking at the 2004 International Association of Common Property Conference, Oaxaca, Mexico.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Natural Resources InstituteUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

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