Social learning in Brazilian watersheds

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Brazil has embedded the socio-ecological learning process in the participatory management of river basin councils through its “sister laws” on water and the environment. GITHIDRO or, Grupo Transdisciplinar de Pesquisas em Governança da Água e do Território/ Tecnologias Sociais para a Gestão da Água (TSGA) a transdisciplinary group of researchers at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, took these laws and developed new interpretations of socio-ecological learning. They incorporated an ethical component and a dynamic and complex program of participatory “cycles of learning” that brought committees and communities to a common understanding of socio-ecological processes, laws, and potential for collective action. Using resilience theory as a framework for understanding how to sustain and enhance adaptive capacity” (Folke et al 2002), this solution analyzes the processes of socio-ecological learning, including focus groups, physical dynamics that blend the conceptual with the physical, visioning, socio-ecological mapping, project planning and community celebrations through interviews, meeting notes, and written documents of the six case studies. The potential for socio-ecological learning as a tool for building the capacity of watershed basin committees to plan and implement projects is substantiated as an important tool for building the resilience of the combined system