(1 - 1 of 1)
- GOVERNANCE OF PEOPLE-CENTERED FOREST-AGRISCAPES RESTORATION IN MALAWI : INSTITUTIONAL AND MODELING APPROACHES
- Djenontin, Ida Nadia Sedjro
- Electronic Theses & Dissertations
This doctoral dissertation embodies an interdisciplinary inquiry of human-environment interactions approached from a geospatial perspective. It investigates some socio-institutional dimensions of ecosystem restoration, focusing on the Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) paradigm. FLR is a people-centered ecosystem restoration approach that advances a holistic landscape approach to restoring degraded natural resources. FLR’s implicit landscape approach to environmental management requires...
Show moreThis doctoral dissertation embodies an interdisciplinary inquiry of human-environment interactions approached from a geospatial perspective. It investigates some socio-institutional dimensions of ecosystem restoration, focusing on the Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) paradigm. FLR is a people-centered ecosystem restoration approach that advances a holistic landscape approach to restoring degraded natural resources. FLR’s implicit landscape approach to environmental management requires sectoral interactions and policy integration in implementing restoration interventions in interlocking agricultural and forested landscapes – forest-agriscapes. As such, FLR seeks to address, holistically, the interlinked challenges of land degradation, deforestation, biodiversity loss, climate change, livelihood insecurity, and unsustainable supply of multiple socio-ecological benefits. The research analyses specifically how to achieve integrated and sustainable governance of landscape-scale restoration of lands, trees, and forests by deepening understanding of the related institutional, socio-economic, cultural, and behavioral dimensions. It employs an analytical approach that blends qualitative analysis, econometric modeling, and spatial agent-based modeling (ABM) to explore forest-agriscapes restoration as a complex socio-ecological system (SES). Using Malawi as a country case study in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the research first investigates what potential context-appropriate governance system—including governance model, institutional arrangements, and regulatory framework—would adequately promote effective integrated implementation of landscape restoration. The research adopts a polycentric governance perspective based on the Ecology of Games Theory (EGT). Using the EGT, it explores the structural and functional dimensions of an appropriate integrated governance system by examining four specific governance parameters: collaboration arrangements, social learning mechanisms, coordination processes, and institutional externalities. Second, the research draws on an econometric perspective and an environmental behavior perspective rooted in social psychology to examine the local patterns and socio-cultural determinants and the decision-making processes of local individual and collective resources restoration efforts. Through a mixed qualitative and quantitative methods approach, it addresses why and how local smallholder farmers and resource users engage in restoration activities, including the driving and constraining factors for their restoration efforts. Finally, the research uses ABM, a bottom-up computational modeling approach to SES, to explore the aggregate landscape-level dynamic patterns and environmental impacts of local restoration decisions and consequent activities, with different simulations of management and policy scenarios. The research offers diverse knowledge contributions and practical insights for effective forest-agriscape restoration. It advances knowledge on framing ingredients of a contextualized polycentric governance system to successfully operationalize an integrated landscape approach to resources management and restoration in Malawi and contributes to testing the EGT as a novel theory of polycentric governance. Moreover, the research illuminates the nature, level, diversification features, and areal extent of local restoration, and uncovers associated main drivers and challenges. It also offers more social understanding of individual and collective restoration behaviors, notably insights on local farmers’ and resources users’ decision-making processes for land, tree, and forest restoration. This improves knowledge on empirically capturing such behavioral components and integrating them into computational modeling. Further, the research uncovers a forward-looking 10-year trend and spatially explicit patterns of potential restoration extent, intensification, participation level, and resulting landscape regreening. The dynamics of the potential aggregate environmental impacts of local, bottom-up restoration efforts suggest empowering them, shedding light on likely propitious management and policy options to operationalize. This contributes insights for spatially targeted and evidence-based restoration implementation in Malawi, exemplifying how to enhance the use of ABMs to support restoration management and policy. Overall, the research shows the promise of using mixed integrative research approaches to better inform effective FLR interventions and the practical insights for Malawi are also relevant for other similar SSA contexts. Broadly, the dissertation illustrates effective socio-ecological governance as one way to approach the persistent challenge centered on a complex co-existence issue: how to balance competing goals of attaining sustainable natural resource-based livelihoods, food security, and poverty reduction while protecting biodiversity and ecological integrity within a changing climate context.