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