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Using a systems viability approach to evaluate integrated conservation and development projects: assessing the impact of the North Rupununi Adaptive Management Process, Guyana

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Integrated conservation and development projects (ICDPs) are common place in the field of biodiversity conservation. However, there is little evidence in the wider literature on the successes of these projects, with failure attributed to a range of factors, including a bias on either conservation or development, weak assumptions and limited monitoring and evaluation. In this paper, we evaluate an ICDP in the North Rupununi district of Guyana. Using a systems viability approach, we show how assessing the project and the nested systems within which it is operating reveals numerous human and institutional capacity issues which could have been managed better if highlighted at the project development stage. We conclude with the proposal that a systems viability approach to ICDP development, monitoring and evaluation encourages greater learning and adaptive management processes for increasing the long-term impact of ICDPs.

Keywords: Guyana; ICDP; adaptive management; monitoring and evaluation; social-ecological system; system viability

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX, Email: 2: Open Systems Research Group, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, Email: 3: Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (Consulting) Ltd, Slimbridge, Glos. GL2 7BT, Email: 4: Conservation International Guyana, Georgetown, Guyana, Email: 5: Rewa Village, North Rupununi, Region 9, Guyana, Email:

Publication date: September 1, 2010


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