Exploring innovative and participatory approaches for ESBO delivery

By Karlheinz Knickel (IfLS)

The case studies are a core element of the PEGASUS project, enabling us to identify a diverse range of approaches being used in different parts of the EU to increase the appreciation and provision of ESBOs from agriculture and forestry. We want to learn from the many initiatives that we can find in practice in very different situations. Each case study will involve analysing and understanding the context in which agriculture and forestry operates and identifying the potential strategies to improve provision in these particular circumstances. In each of the 34 case studies, PEGASUS partners will first gain a better understanding of the relationships between farming/forestry management and the associated quantity and quality of ESBOs. To facilitate this task, we use the socio-ecological systems (SES) framework, examine the appreciation of ESBOs among key actors and identify key motivational, institutional and socio-economic factors that influence this.

Together with our stakeholders in the case studies, we explore the interplay between policy, market and social, cultural and institutional factors, and examine the mechanisms and governance arrangements that are in place. We examine what works already and why. This will then allow us to explore the main trade-offs and strengths and weaknesses of different approaches in order to inform policy development, create a more enabling environment for similar initiatives, scaling up, replication, multiplication, and maybe eventually a wider regime change. The ultimate goal is to incentivise and enable transformative practice on the ground.

A rapid appraisal for 34 ‘broad and shallow’ case studies is currently underway. Based on this, a more in-depth analysis will be carried out in 10 case studies, with much more intensive action-oriented engagement of the research team with key actors and stakeholders. The 10 in-depth case studies will be chosen from the broad and shallow case studies. The key considerations for selection will be the interest of stakeholders in continuing the cooperation, the desire to select particularly innovative cases with a high potential for scaling up and/or multiplication, and the need to ensure a good coverage of situations, drivers and mechanisms.

For all 34 cases studies, a map of the social-ecological system is drawn, using participatory methods and local, regional or national data sets. In addition, we explore the conditions for successful ESBO provision, based on initial interviews with stakeholders and triangulation with local environmental and socio-economic data. This work will be completed by June 2016 with a short report for each broad and shallow case study. The 10 in-depth case studies will enable deeper analysis and the identification of potential future actions with stakeholders for increasing ESBO provision further in the case study areas, considering also any changes required in institutional arrangements.

A series of focus groups and workshops will be organised during November/December 2016 where governance arrangements and actions to foster ESBO provision will be discussed. This in-depth analysis will be completed in January 2017 with a report and a joint commitment to further action.

For all the case studies, it is critically important to engage with practice, facilitate, listen actively, and be ready to co-learn. Feedback loops with stakeholders, key actors and those leading other work packages are very important. The systemic and visualisation approaches (mind-maps, network mapping) we are using is intended to facilitate this.