Knowledge systems approaches for enhancing project impacts in complex settings: community fire management and peatland restoration in Indonesia

Knowledge systems approaches for enhancing the impact of research are well established and tend to focus on the ways in which researchers can adapt their engagement with stakeholders to achieve a better “fit” between research and action agendas. Yet, these approaches are often based on explicit or implicit assumptions of a skilled and willing research team, and stable and well-defined stakeholders, who have consistent and reasonably well-defined needs. This paper discusses how knowledge systems approaches were developed and deployed in the first phase of the Gambut Kita (Our Peatland) project on community fire management and peatland restoration in Indonesia (2017–2021). This was a complex project with a large multi-disciplinary team situated across dynamic institutions in Indonesia and Australia, and addressing a politically controversial topic. To capture the diverse experience of the researchers, and to focus on the needs of stakeholders, we developed a sequence of whole-of-project approaches comprising the following: (i) stakeholder mapping exercises at three nested scales combining stakeholder analysis, knowledge systems mapping and impact pathways analysis; (ii) a project coordinating committee of high-level Indonesian policy-makers and policy-influencers; (iii) a stakeholder engagement forum and (iv) online policy dialogues. We demonstrate its effects through the case of developing an Indonesian Peat Fire Danger Rating System (Peat FDRS), as a core project deliverable. Over 4 years, these structured stakeholder engagement processes gave rise to a Peat FDRS Stakeholder Engagement Network (a multi-institutional working group), which is making significant progress in navigating the complexity inherent in realising an accurate Indonesian Peat FDRS.
  • Authors: Robins, L., van Kerkhoff, L., Rochmayanto, Y., Sakuntaladewi, N., Agrawal, S.
  • Author Affiliation: Australian National University, National Research and Innovation Agency, Yayasan Tambuhak Sinta
  • Subjects: knowledge management, peatlands, ecological restoration, research, fire management, community involvement, policy analysis, stakeholders
  • Publication type: Journal Article, ISI
  • Source: Regional Environmental Change 22: 100
  • Year: 2022
  • DOI:
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