Understanding and Acting within Loweswater

Understanding and Acting within Loweswater: A Community Approach to Catchment  Management was a three year interdisciplinary research project (2007-2010) funded  by the Rural Economy and Land Use Programme, or RELU.

The research had the strong interdisciplinary focus supported by RELU  and expanded on earlier studies to encompass social, cultural, economic and  policy dimensions in addition to the study of ecological interactions. The study valued the knowledge and experience of local people as much as it did more  formalised knowledges about the local environment and recognized that it is only with local stakeholder involvement as well as with that of institutional  stakeholders that more sustainable ways of managing the Loweswater catchment  area could be devised and implemented.

The aims and objectives were to:

  • To create a mechanism that will enable community-stakeholder and  institutional-stakeholder-involved decision making. The objective of this  mechanism is to provide the basis for long-term ecological, economic and social  sustainability within the Loweswater catchment. At present we refer to this  mechanism as the Loweswater Knowledge Collective or LKC, but this name might be  changed by the community in the future
  • To carry out high quality interdisciplinary research in order to produce a  catchment knowledge-base to inform decision-making. This will include research  on the ecology of land and water (including fish) in the catchment and studies  of institutional regulation and management affecting Loweswater.
  • Research and analysis into the ‘transferability’ of the approach proposed. The research aims to see, in other words, if the way that we are trying to bring  local communities, institutional stakeholders and researchers of different  disciplines together is beneficial. If so, we want to try and judge whether it  can be done elsewhere and at other scales and for different types of problems.


RELU Policy and Practice Note 32:  A community approach to catchment management


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