Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Learning for social-ecological change : a qualitative review of outcomes across empirical literature in natural resource management
Suškevičs, Monika ; Hahn, Thomas ; Rodela, Romina ; Macura, Biljana ; Pahl-Wostl, Claudia - \ 2018
Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 61 (2018)7. - ISSN 0964-0568 - p. 1085 - 1112.
action-orientation - institutional change - qualitative analysis - social learning - transformative change
Learning is considered as a promising mechanism to cope with rapid environmental change. The implications of learning for natural resource management (NRM) have not been explored in-depth and the evidence on the topic is scattered across multiple sources. We provide a qualitative review of types of learning outcomes and consider their manifestations in NRM across selected empirical literature. We conducted a systematic search of the peer-reviewed literature (N = 1,223) and a qualitative meta-synthesis of included articles, with an explicit focus on learning outcomes and NRM changes (N = 53). Besides social learning, we found several learning concepts used, including policy and transformative learning, and multiple links between learning and NRM reported. We observe that the development of skills, together with a system approach involving multi-level capacities, is decisive for implications of learning for NRM. Future reviews could systematically compare how primary research applies different learning concepts and discusses links between learning and NRM changes.
Reframing the future : the role of reflexivity in governance networks in sustainability transitions
Sol Ir, Jifke ; Wal, Merel M. van der; Beers, Pieter Jelle ; Wals, Arjen - \ 2017
Environmental Education Research (2017). - ISSN 1350-4622 - p. 1 - 23.
commitment - reflexivity - reframing - regional governance networks - social learning - Sustainability - transitions - trust
Regional sustainability networks in the Netherlands are rooted in regional culture and have an emphasis on social learning and effective collaboration between multiple actors. The national ‘Duurzaam Door’ (Moving Forward Sustainably) Policy Programme regards these networks as generative governance arrangements where new knowledge, actions and relations can co-evolve together with new insights in governance and learning within sustainability transitions. In order to understand the dynamics of the learning in these networks we have monitored emergent properties of social learning between 2014 and 2016. Our focus is particularly on the interrelated role of trust, commitment, reframing and reflexivity. Our aim is to better understand the role and the dynamics of these emergent properties and to see which actors and roles can foster the effectiveness of social learning in regional transitions towards more sustainable ways of living. We used a retrospective analysis with Reflexive Monitoring in Action (RMA), which we combined with the Most Significant Change approach. We found that reflexivity in particular is a critical property at moments that can make or break the process.
Social learning for adaptive delta management : Tidal River Management in the Bangladesh Delta
Mutahara, Muhmuda ; Warner, Jeroen F. ; Wals, Arjen E.J. ; Shah Alam Khan, M. ; Wester, Flip - \ 2017
International Journal of Water Resources Development (2017). - ISSN 0790-0627 - 21 p.
adaptive delta management - Bangladesh - participation - social learning - Tidal River Management

The article analyzes Tidal River Management in Bangladesh from a social learning perspective. Four cases were investigated using participatory assessment. Knowledge acquisition through transformations in the Tidal River Management process was explored as an intended learning outcome. The study finds that social learning occurred more prominently at the individual stakeholder level and less at the collective level. For Tidal River Management to be responsive and sustainable, especially in times of increased uncertainty and climate vulnerability, more attention needs to be paid to coordination and facilitation of multi-level learning that includes all stakeholders.

Leveraging social networks for agricultural development in Africa
Ross, Martha - \ 2017
University. Promotor(en): Erwin Bulte, co-promotor(en): Maarten Voors. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463431910 - 174
social networks - agricultural development - economic development - agricultural production - networks - technology transfer - innovations - innovation adoption - diffusion - interpersonal relations - communication - observation - social learning - social interaction - sociale netwerken - landbouwontwikkeling - economische ontwikkeling - landbouwproductie - netwerken - technologieoverdracht - innovaties - innovatie adoptie - diffusie - intermenselijke relaties - communicatie - observatie - sociaal leren - sociale interactie

This thesis contributes to a growing literature that explores relationships between social networks and innovation diffusion within a developing country context. Given this context, the networks of interest within this thesis are the offline interpersonal relationships between community members. Diffusion channels for new innovation are therefore limited to word-of-mouth communication, observation, and personal experience.

Chapter 2 of this thesis analyses two policy tools in targeting these information gaps. The first is through social learning as part of a farmer extension program. The second combines social learning with experiential learning, reducing the cost to personal experimentation with subsidized improved input packages. Our results indicate that farmers who are exposed to both social learning and learning-by-doing more significantly impacts farmer productivity relative to those receiving no intervention and those exposed only to social learning. I interpret this result as an indication of learning-by-doing combined with social learning being a more effective strategy for facilitating adoption of technologies that have more heterogeneous returns to adoption.

Chapter 3 of this thesis tests the difference in diffusion patterns that result by varying the network contact- point. Specifically, network contact-points are selected as being either the most central or least central individuals within the network. I find evidence that centrality affects the speed of distribution but does not affect the width of diffusion nor which individuals are participating within the diffusion process. Furthermore, large attenuation is observed throughout the diffusion process, which suggests the importance of selecting a sufficiently large set of lead community members for the spread of new technology.

Chapter 4 combines a community-wide polling of network entry-points combined with detailed community network and socio-economic data. First we explore what attributes are prioritized by community members in nominating a resident farmer as an extension contact-point. Second, we use simulations to compare the diffusion spread of top-nominated individuals as network entry-points compared to entry-points that achieve maximal spread within diffusion simulations. We find that community members prioritize network connectedness, pro-social preferences, and socioeconomic indicators of gender, age, formal leadership, and education levels within their nomination decisions. Furthermore, receiving the top three most amount of nominations is found to be significantly correlated with selection as an optimal entry-point within the diffusion simulation. These results suggest that community-wide polling offers a less data-intensive opportunity to realize gains in diffusion warranted through network-based seeding.

Chapter 5 explore whether an individual’s observed social preferences is correlated with an individual’s centrality within the network structure. Our results indicate that individuals with high centrality are more trusting and more trustworthy than individuals with lower centrality. Moreover, individuals with low centrality are treated worse in these interactions—people trust them less initially, and return less money to them. Within a group context, little evidence is found of more central individuals displaying more cooperative behavior. Instead, for group cooperation, when a single monitor can observe contribution decisions, the presence of a direct link and more mutual network connections with a monitor correlates to more cooperative behavior by that individual. Our results suggest that network centrality and pro-social preferences are related but more localized network ties are more strongly correlated with pro-sociality than overall network connectedness.

The MSP guide : how to design and facilitate multi-stakeholder partnerships
Brouwer, J.H. ; Woodhill, A.J. ; Hemmati, M. ; Verhoosel, K.S. ; Vugt, S.M. van - \ 2016
Wageningen : Practical Action Publishing Ltd - ISBN 9781853399657 - 180 p.
multi-stakeholder processen - samenwerking - vennootschappen - ontwerp - governance - duurzame ontwikkeling - duurzaamheid (sustainability) - sociaal leren - innovaties - ontwikkeling - multi-stakeholder processes - cooperation - partnerships - design - sustainable development - sustainability - social learning - innovations - development
The MSP guide : how to design and facilitate multi-stakeholder partnerships
Brouwer, J.H. ; Woodhill, A.J. ; Hemmati, M. ; Verhoosel, K.S. ; Vugt, S.M. van - \ 2015
Wageningen : Centre for Development Innovation Wageningen UR - ISBN 9789462575424 - 184
multi-stakeholder processen - samenwerking - vennootschappen - ontwerp - governance - duurzame ontwikkeling - duurzaamheid (sustainability) - sociaal leren - innovaties - ontwikkeling - multi-stakeholder processes - cooperation - partnerships - design - sustainable development - sustainability - social learning - innovations - development
Adaptive collaborative governance of Nepal's community forests: shifting power, strenghtening livelihoods
McDougall, C.L. - \ 2015
University. Promotor(en): Cees Leeuwis, co-promotor(en): J.L.S. Jiggins. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462572881 - 322
bewonersparticipatie - governance - sociale samenwerking - sociaal leren - natuurlijke hulpbronnen - bosbouw - gemeenschappen - middelen van bestaan - adaptatie - sociaal kapitaal - vrouwen - armoede - nepal - community participation - social cooperation - social learning - natural resources - forestry - communities - livelihoods - adaptation - social capital - women - poverty

Short Summary

Cynthia McDougall--PhD Dissertation

Knowledge, Technology, &Innovation Chairgroup (WASS)

Adaptive collaborative governance of Nepal’s community forests: Shifting power, strengthening livelihoods

Community-based natural resource governance has taken root around the globe. And, yet, as demonstrated by community forestry in Nepal, such programmes have generally not yet lived up to their goals and expectations. After decades of implementation, community forestry in Nepal faces several key challenges. Central to these challenges are: the need to increase equity in community forest user group decision making and benefit sharing; and, to increase the livelihood benefits from community forestry overall. The research project on which this study is based sought to address these challenges at the community forest user group scale. The research objective was to contribute empirically-based insights regarding if and how adaptive collaborative governance of community forests in Nepal can constructively influence engagement, livelihoods, social capital and conflict—especially in regard to women and the poor. Further, the research aimed to elucidate the underlying issue of power in community-based natural resource governance. In particular, it sought to contribute deeper, theoretically-based understanding of the persistence of power imbalances in community forestry, and of the potential of adaptive collaborative governance to shift such imbalances.

Measuring Social Learning in Participatory Approaches to Natural Resource Management
Wal, M.M. van der; Kraker, J. de; Offermans, A. ; Kroeze, C. ; Kirschner, P. ; Ittersum, M.K. van - \ 2014
Environmental Policy and Governance 24 (2014)1. - ISSN 1756-932X - p. 1 - 15.
natuurlijke hulpbronnen - hulpbronnenbeheer - sociaal leren - participatief management - klimaatverandering - governance - natural resources - resource management - social learning - participative management - climatic change - cultural theory - stakeholder participation - climate-change - sustainability - perspectives - framework - dilemmas
The role of social learning as a governance mechanism in natural resource management has been frequently highlighted, but progress in finding evidence for this role and gaining insight into the conditions that promote it are hampered by the lack of operational definitions of social learning and practical methods to measure it. In this article, we present a simple and flexible method to measure social learning, whether it has occurred and to what extent, among stakeholders in natural resource management. The method yields measurements of social learning that are visual, quantitative and qualitative. First, we elaborate our definition of social learning as a convergence of perspectives and outline how stakeholder perspectives in natural resource management can be described with Cultural Theory. Next, we provide a generic description of the method, followed by two examples illustrating its application to the domains of water and land management. Finally, we discuss relative strengths and weaknesses of the method and how it could be applied to improve our understanding of factors that contribute to social learning.
Deconstructing the discourse on social learning: conceptual and methodological aspects in natural resource management literature
Rodela, R. - \ 2012
Wageningen : Wageningen UR - 69
sociaal leren - natuurlijke hulpbronnen - bedrijfsvoering - duurzame ontwikkeling - methodologie - interdisciplinair onderzoek - social learning - natural resources - management - sustainable development - methodology - interdisciplinary research
This report represents a much-needed meta-analysis in this emerging field and pulls together key research articles on social learning in natural resource management and related fields, such as environmental management. Section one of this publication provides methodological detail and an explanation of how paper selection was undertaken as well as a description of the selected body of works reviewed, i.e., 96 papers published in scientific journals after peer-review. Section two summarises the results of a more specific analysis designed to unveil how social learning is made operational and how the literature approaches it conceptually. In section three interdisciplinary engagement and borrowing practices reported in the selected social learning literature are analysed the implications that emerged from these discussed. In section four methodological aspects. The aim of this last analysis was to unveil methodological choices discussed in the selected literature and reflect upon the epistemological base that underpins the social learning discourse.
Social learning in innovation networks: how multisectoral collaborations shape discourses of sustainable agriculture
Hermans, F.L.P. - \ 2011
University. Promotor(en): Tom Veldkamp; J.T. Mommaas, co-promotor(en): Kasper Kok. - [S.l.] : S.n. - ISBN 9789461730985 - 182
duurzame landbouw - innovaties - innovatie adoptie - sociaal leren - netwerken - discoursanalyse - landgebruik - sustainable agriculture - innovations - innovation adoption - social learning - networks - discourse analysis - land use

The increasing complexity of modern day society has led to the emergence of a specific type of sustainability problems known as complex problems. These types of problems can be characterised by their cognitive complexity and inherent insecurity, their normative complexity that allows for completely different interpretations rooted in different worldviews and finally the occurrence of a conflict of interests between different actors.

Sustainable agriculture is the case in point. The Dutch countryside is standing on the threshold of a major transition. Rural development in The Netherlands nowadays involves far more than just restructuring agricultural production. The linear innovation perspective where new knowledge was discovered at universities and subsequently transferred to farmers by means of government sponsored extension services has given way to a new perspective on innovation. This perspective takes a relational view on innovation in which knowledge and innovations are co-created together with stakeholders and it emphasises the importance of experimentation and social learning involving a multisectoral network of actors from science, businesses, government agencies and nongovernmental organisations. The aim of these collaborative innovation networks is to contribute to the transition to sustainable agriculture, a radical and structural change of the agricultural system as a whole.

This thesis focuses on these innovation networks in the context of sustainable agriculture. Its aim is to explore some of the underlying social mechanisms at play in these collaborative networks. Network perspectives have been used extensively to model the linear diffusion of knowledge from universities to farmers and between farmers themselves. However, bottom-up innovation projects with stakeholders do not only require knowledge transfer, but also need to change the organisational structures, laws and institutions governing the sector. This thesis consists of two main parts. The first part of this thesis addresses the content of the concept of sustainable agriculture. It conceptualises innovation as a social learning process in which participants forge new relationships to enhance information flows and learn from each other. The results can thus be divided into ‘outputs’ and ‘outcomes’. Outputs are the plans, scenarios, computer models and indicators that form the physical results of a collaborative process. The outcomes are formed by the building of trust and the development of a new discourse, a new shared language with which to communicate with each other. Using discourse analysis and Q-methodology the existing rurality discourses in the Netherlands were compared to the discourses that were present in the number of innovation projects dealing with sustainable agriculture. Results show that discourses of sustainable agriculture are a natural continuation of existing rurality discourses. The use of technology and the agricultural production function of rural landscapes are among the two most contested elements within the discourses. They are either anti-technological focusing on a multi-functional use of the countryside, or technophile with a strong sense of entitlement of agrarian production in the countryside. Both these extremes are limiting the possibilities for innovative projects to become successful. This thesis defines the concept of Metropolitan Agriculture as a form of sustainable agriculture that combines a technological approach of agriculture on the one hand with a multifunctional use of the countryside.

The second part of the thesis elaborates a new network perspective that links three network functions in innovation systems to individual skills of knowledge creation, institutional entrepreneurship and innovation brokerage. These functions are necessary for the up- and outscaling of a local innovation. Social Network Analysis was used to study the distribution of these three functions over the participants of a collaborative innovation network. Results showed that these three functions are concentrated in three small core-groups and that these core-groups only displayed a very limited overlap. To what extent people are capable to perform one of these three functions depends for a large part on the type of organisation they work for.

Finally, this thesis presents a new mapping technique to investigate and explain the network dynamics of a collaborative innovation network. Using this technique a longitudinal two-mode affiliation network was constructed over a period of 16 years. The analysis of the network dynamics shows how the structural characteristics of size, composition, connectedness and centralisation of a collaborative network change and how these changes are the result of the social relations between actors at the project level as they choose their partners to cooperate with and enter a process of social learning. This thesis therefore shows how the macro-level network dynamics can be explained by micro-level niche processes. It shows how the ideas in the niche change over time with new actors entering the network and other ones leaving after a certain period. The two parts of the thesis together explain how collaboration processes at the niche level can only gradually change societal discourses. In order to ‘sell’ a new idea it has to be embedded within familiar discourse elements. At the same time, these ideas play an important role in finding new partners to collaborate with and expand the existing innovation network.

Evaluation "social learning for sustainability in dynamic agricultural innovation networks" (WP-046)
Hermans, F.L.P. ; Veldkamp, T. ; Beers, P.J. - \ 2011
[S.l.] : TransForum
duurzaamheid (sustainability) - duurzame ontwikkeling - landbouwontwikkeling - sociaal leren - innovaties - sustainability - sustainable development - agricultural development - social learning - innovations
The aim of this project was to identify current perspectives on rurality and agriculture in the Netherlands, and the associated perspectives on sustainable development. Furthermore, it discusses the consequences of the identified perspectives for sustainable agricultural development. The main research questions were: What are the current Dutch perspectives on rurality and agriculture? What are the current perspectives on sustainable development of Dutch rurality and agriculture? What are the consequences of these perspectives for sustainable agricultural development?
Final report TransForum WP-046 : images of sustainable development of Dutch agriculture and green space
Hermans, F.L.P. ; Apeldoorn, D.F. van; Vervoort, J.M. ; Beers, P.J. ; Veldkamp, T. - \ 2011
Wageningen : S.n. - 35
landbouw - innovaties - netwerken - duurzaamheid (sustainability) - duurzame ontwikkeling - landbouwontwikkeling - sociaal leren - agriculture - innovations - networks - sustainability - sustainable development - agricultural development - social learning
In the project “Images of sustainable development of Dutch agriculture and green space” three PhD candidates studied the topic of images in sustainable development. Frans Hermans focused on the topic of societal images and their role and influence in innovation projects. The title of his subproject was “Social learning for sustainability in dynamic agricultural innovation networks.” Joost Vervoort explored the topic of “visualisation”, that is, using and producing images for specific purposes, in the context of innovation projects and programmes, in a subproject called “Step into the system: interactive media strategies for the exchange of insights on social-ecological change.” Finally, Dirk van Apeldoorn took a complex adaptive systems approach to images. He modelled various agro-ecosystems to compare images of those systems with the behaviour of those systems. His subproject was called “Modeling resilience of agro-ecosystems.”
Role of an explorative model for learning about sustainable agricultural development in Burkina Faso
Paassen, A. van; Ridder, N. de; Stroosnijder, L. - \ 2011
International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 9 (2011)2. - ISSN 1473-5903 - p. 310 - 321.
ontwikkelingsstudies - landbouwontwikkeling - duurzame landbouw - modellen - sociaal leren - burkina faso - development studies - agricultural development - sustainable agriculture - models - social learning - systems
Agricultural development is complex, highly dynamic and differs among varying contexts. Decision-making for sustainable agricultural development cannot be based on generalized science-based knowledge, but should include context-specific knowledge and values of local stakeholders. Computer models seem a useful tool to integrate scientific knowledge include local-specific data, and explore local-specific solutions. In this paper we study whether and how a multiple goal linear program (MGLP) model could enhance learning for sustainable development. According to the learning theory, multi-actor learning is only productive when it consists of first-order (experiential) learning and second-order (social) learning. We applied an action-research approach and explored the value of an MGLP model SHARES (SHAred RESources) for learning by agricultural extension staff and farmers in an integrated rural development project in Burkina Faso. Fieldwork showed the main value of SHARES in the capacity to generate farm scenarios and trigger second-order learning about tacit frames-of-reference. People rarely engage in secondorder learning, but pursue different objectives and often remain trapped in confusing discussions and action. SHARES was a critical boundary-spanning object that facilitated communication between farmers and agricultural staff, enhanced mutual understanding, and the determination of area- and category-specific farm development goals.
The Acoustics of Social Learning: Designing learning processes that contribute to a more sustainable world.
Wals, A.E.J. ; Hoeven, E.M.M.M. van der; Blanken, H. - \ 2009
Wageningen : Wageningen Academic Publishers - ISBN 9789088320095 - 34
sociaal leren - duurzame ontwikkeling - duurzaamheid (sustainability) - natuur- en milieueducatie - social learning - sustainable development - sustainability - nature and environmental education
Learning for Sustainable Development contributes to a society in which citizens, companies, organisations, and authorities learn about sustainable development and are desiring, willing, and able to contribute to it.
Netwerken met succes naar innovatie begeleiden
Sol, A.J. ; Beers, P.J. - \ 2009
Syscope Magazine 2009 (2009)22. - p. 50 - 54.
innovaties - plattelandsontwikkeling - systeeminnovatie - netwerken - sociaal leren - westerkwartier - innovations - rural development - system innovation - networks - social learning
Bij systeeminnovatieve vraagstukken is kennis schaars, de toekomst onzeker en zijn de belangen van diverse partijen groot en uiteenlopend. Juist dan is de noodzaak groot dat zij samen duurzame oplossingen zoeken. Voor het samenbrengen en begeleiden van deze partijen is specifieke kennis en vaardigheid nodig. Dat bleek ook in een gebiedsproces in het Zuidelijk Westerkwartier
Learning from Carchi: agricultural modernisation and the production of decline
Sherwood, S.G. - \ 2009
University. Promotor(en): N.G. Röling; Cees Leeuwis, co-promotor(en): D.C. Cole. - [S.l. : S.n. - ISBN 9789085853169 - 286 p.
landbouwontwikkeling - boeren - boerenorganisaties - leren - innovatie adoptie - innovaties - landbouwhervorming - aardappelen - geïntegreerde plagenbestrijding - duurzaamheid (sustainability) - ecuador - latijns-amerika - landbouwvoorlichting - kennis van boeren - sociaal leren - agricultural development - farmers - farmers' associations - learning - innovation adoption - innovations - agrarian reform - potatoes - integrated pest management - sustainability - latin america - agricultural extension - farmers' knowledge - social learning
Provided its natural endowments, generally educated rural population, infrastructure and market access to two countries, the Province of Carchi, located in the northernmost highlands of Ecuador, is potentially one of the most productive agriculture regions in the Andes. In the 1960s development experts and the government targeted the region as a model for agricultural modernisation. Following land reform and rapid organisation around industrial era technologies, potato farming in Carchi boomed during the 1970s, evolving to dominate the landscape and become the major source of livelihoods in the province. By the early 1980s, Carchi came to produce nearly half the national potato harvest on less than a quarter of the country’s area dedicated to the crop. In the early1990s, however, production and productivity began to fall off, leading a growing number of rural families in Carchi to fall into debt and abandon potato farming. The research reported here is the outcome of the author’s ten years of research and development practice in Carchi with the International Potato Center, the FAO’s Global IPM Facility, and World Neighbors. It reflects unfolding experience with different phases of hope, discovery, and ambition. Many aspects of the experience have been published elsewhere (see Appendix A). The resulting dissertation is not a case study in the sense of a case that tests a hypothesis. It is a monograph that attempts to produce a single coherent story over seemingly unrelated events, focusing on a second-generation problem: despite a decade of highly rigorous, scientific research on the pathologies of Carchi and multiple public demonstrations of feasible alternatives, little significant change was achieved.
Planned regional development: the creation of learning regions
Kersten, P.H. ; Kranendonk, R.P. ; Laurentzen, L. - \ 2008
Wageningen : Wageningen UR - 4
regionale ontwikkeling - ruimtelijke ordening - regionale planning - agro-industriële complexen - kennismanagement - informatiemanagement - sociaal leren - communities of practice - noord-limburg - regional development - physical planning - regional planning - agroindustrial complexes - knowledge management - information management - social learning
In this paper, new ways of working in business and management, regional development and governmental steering (phases, levels, changes and growth perspectives) will be identified and described using both theoretical and empirical evidence from the case of Greenport Venlo.
Multi-Stakeholder Processes and Innovation Systems towards Science for impact
Vugt, S.M. van; Geene, J. van - \ 2008
Wageningen : Wageningen International - 33
onderzoek - onderzoeksprojecten - onderzoeksteams - reflectie - multi-stakeholder processen - sociaal leren - research - research projects - research teams - reflection - multi-stakeholder processes - social learning
Multi_stakeholder processes (MSPs) have become an important phenomena in the work of many of the Science Groups and knowledge units of Wageningen UR. To realise ‘science for impact’ it is increasingly recognized that stakeholder engagement is a critical element. Much remains to be understood about their role and effectiveness in a wider context of politics, governance and societal change. There is clearly value to be gained from the efforts of Wageningen UR wide sharing and critical reflection processes. The CD&IC programme, Wageningen International, hosted a Critical Reflection Day, building on existing and past initiatives such as Own experiences, the Transition lab and deepening of Communities of Practice of action learning and ‘Telen met Toekomst’. The Critical Reflection Day was part of the three_week international course on 'Facilitating Multi_stakeholder Processes and Social Learning' attended by some 30 participants from all over the world. They facilitated and actively took part in the Critical Reflection Day
Innovative concepts towards sustainability in organic horticulture: testing a participatory technology design
Blom, M. ; Keulen, H. van - \ 2008
International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 6 (2008)3. - ISSN 1473-5903 - p. 195 - 207.
biologische landbouw - tuinbouw - duurzaamheid (sustainability) - innovatie adoptie - systeeminnovatie - sociaal leren - organic farming - horticulture - sustainability - innovation adoption - system innovation - social learning - rural appraisal - agriculture - management - framework - relevant - issues - models
Horticulture in the Netherlands is an economically strong sector. However, current organic horticulture does not comply with the standards for sustainability, because of its contribution to environmental pollution and exhaustion of natural resources. Transition towards more sustainable agro-ecosystems is inevitable for horticulture in the Netherlands to maintain its international competitive position. In this paper, we describe a study commissioned by the Dutch government aimed at testing an approach for participatory technology design and at generating commitment of stakeholders.
Horticulture in the Netherlands is an economically strong sector. However, current organic horticulture does not comply with the standards for sustainability, because of its contribution to environmental pollution and exhaustion of natural resources. Transition towards more sustainable agro-ecosystems is inevitable for horticulture in the Netherlands to maintain its international competitive position. In this paper, we describe a study commissioned by the Dutch government aimed at testing an approach for participatory technology design and at generating commitment of stakeholders. In brainstorming sessions with representatives from research, extension and the horticultural sector, three draft scenarios were defined, based on political, societal and scientific goals for sustainable production systems. However, these draft scenarios were mainly formulated in a 'top-down' approach and within the sector no shared problem perception existed. So, strong identification with the sector was necessary to formulate more appealing scenarios. In interviews, various stakeholders, selected from the primary sector, the retail sector and other interested organizations were asked for their opinions about the scenarios, possible perspectives of the approach and their interest in participating in further development. In response to their interests in a participatory process, reformulation of the scenarios involved profound adaptation of both, objectives and pathways, and resulted in two modified scenarios, an economically driven organic production system and a socially driven organic city greenhouse. It is concluded that the approach of participatory technology design, the model of iterative learning and practice change, worked well. We learned that entrepreneurs are not inspired by long-term perspectives without clear short-term gains. Hence, the long-term aims of the government were translated into a series of steps, each in the short term resulting in partial realization of the goals. So, we experienced that we can affect the adoption behaviour of the entrepreneur by matching long-term aims with short-term interests.
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