Adaptive Management and Scale in a Flood-Pulsed Ecosystem-the Case of the Okavango Delta Management Plan, Botswana

  • Motsumi S
  • Cassidy L
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Abstract

Abstract The flood pulse, as the main driver of Botswana's Okavango Delta system, creates variable responses in terms of its biophysical, socio-economic aspects which presents challenges for its management. This, along with the perturbation caused by substantially increased human impacts in the last few decades, has led to the initiation of a systematic framework for management, the Okavango Delta Management Plan (ODMP). This paper analyses the extent to which the ODMP accommodates adaptive management principles in its implementation, and focuses on the scale aspects of institutional arrangements, still founded on administrative, not social-ecological, boundaries. Specifically, we examine the hierarchy of decision-making and highlight the challenges associated with scale mismatch. Centralized sectoral decision-making has prevented the ODMP being adopted as all parties? responsibility. Scale effects compound this, because decision-making at the national level challenges the implementing district level's efforts at transdisciplinary responses. Nevertheless, capacity-building on the ground means that district officers are increasingly adopting integrated, collaborative responses to management issues. Abstract The flood pulse, as the main driver of Botswana's Okavango Delta system, creates variable responses in terms of its biophysical, socio-economic aspects which presents challenges for its management. This, along with the perturbation caused by substantially increased human impacts in the last few decades, has led to the initiation of a systematic framework for management, the Okavango Delta Management Plan (ODMP). This paper analyses the extent to which the ODMP accommodates adaptive management principles in its implementation, and focuses on the scale aspects of institutional arrangements, still founded on administrative, not social-ecological, boundaries. Specifically, we examine the hierarchy of decision-making and highlight the challenges associated with scale mismatch. Centralized sectoral decision-making has prevented the ODMP being adopted as all parties? responsibility. Scale effects compound this, because decision-making at the national level challenges the implementing district level's efforts at transdisciplinary responses. Nevertheless, capacity-building on the ground means that district officers are increasingly adopting integrated, collaborative responses to management issues.

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Authors

  • Sekgowa Motsumi

  • Lin Cassidy

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