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Open AccessArticle

Formation of a Community of Practice in the Watershed Scale, with Integrated Local Environmental Knowledge

Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto 603-8047, Japan
Center for Regional Collaboration, Kanazawa University, Suzu, Ishikawa 927-1462, Japan
Faculty of Agriculture, Ryukoku University, Otsu, Shiga 520-2194, Japan
Faculty of Collaborative Regional Innovation, Ehime University, Matsuyama, Ehime 790-8577, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 404;
Received: 8 November 2017 / Revised: 25 January 2018 / Accepted: 3 February 2018 / Published: 4 February 2018
Rural communities around the world face formidable problems such as resource depletion, environmental degradation and economic decline. While the term ‘community’ is often used without clear definition or context, it can be viewed as a group of people emerging through social interaction. Through a series of collaborative action toward a shared goal, a community of practice can be formed. This paper proposes a hypothetical framework of integrated local environmental knowledge (ILEK), and applies it to analyze the processes of collaborative actions in the case of the Nishibetsu Watershed in Hokkaido, Japan. The case study identified several phases of actions, all initiated by a group of local residents on a grassroots and voluntary basis. These local resident-initiated collaborative actions had a particular confluence of elements to facilitate gradual strengthening of formal and informal institutions in the watershed scale beyond jurisdictional boundaries, making this a worthy case to study. The local residents used diverse types of knowledge, including livelihood-based technologies and skills of working as a group and with local governments, for establishing and strengthening various institutions for collaborative actions, with such knowledge being used in the manner of tools in a box of bricolage for community formation. View Full-Text
Keywords: community; knowledge; collaborative action; watershed; institution community; knowledge; collaborative action; watershed; institution
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Kitamura, K.; Nakagawa, C.; Sato, T. Formation of a Community of Practice in the Watershed Scale, with Integrated Local Environmental Knowledge. Sustainability 2018, 10, 404.

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