Lessons learned from a computer-assisted participatory planning and management process in the peak district national park, England

Klaus Hubacek*, Mark Reed

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


In order to support stakeholders in adapting to socio-economic, environmental and policy pressures a group of researchers and key stakeholders joined forces to develop an iterative social learning process supported by computer models designed in a participatory modeling process. We report on an ongoing research project in the peak district national park, UK. This chapter details the genesis, development and operation of this approach to enabling adaptive management in a complex socio-ecological landscape. Instead of experimenting with new management activities and learning from the results of these actions, we used formal computer models to tell the stakeholders what the implications of their actions might be in terms of their own economy and also environmental effects such as different growth patterns of plant species, biodiversity, as well as soil erosion, water quality and carbon fluxes. Such modeling of scenario modelling is assumed to enable decision making (and eventually activity) in 'risky' situations, or in a context of high risk aversion. Including stakeholders in all stages of the process increases acceptance of the work and allows the inclusions of relevant multiple views and can enhance shared understanding. A flexible approach that can react to participants' needs is a precondition. Participatory scenario modelling was found to be very useful as it enables surprises and changes in emphasis to be incorporated in the process thus providing flexibility to deal with social surprises such as linguistic ambiguity and physical surprises such as bird flu and foot and mouth disease, both of which reappeared on the agenda during this process. We also learned that the selection of stakeholders was important as well as developing a strong understanding of the context; and having a good facilitator. To have a chance for the learning and adaptive management process to survive beyond the project duration a certain set of attitudes and organisational cultures are required that can facilitate processes where goals are negotiated and outcomes are necessarily uncertain.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdaptive Environmental Management
Subtitle of host publicationA Practitioner's Guide
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781402096327
ISBN (Print)9789048127108
Publication statusPrint publication - 2009
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Lessons learned from a computer-assisted participatory planning and management process in the peak district national park, England'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this