Communities of practice in the management of an Arctic environment: monitoring knowledge as complementary to scientific knowledge and the precautionary principle?
This article engages with knowledge management in governing vulnerable polar areas and tourism. Since the 1870’s Svalbard has been a cruise tourism destination. Due to less ice during the summer period, the number of tourists visiting the remote northeast corner of the archipelago has increased significantly and the potential negative impact on this vulnerable natural environment has become an issue. The standard modes of managing these areas have either been to apply the precautionary principle or measures based on scientific evidence. As management models, both principles are however, for a number of reasons contested. This paper argues for a third model, partly practiced based on a form of monitoring knowledge circulating in 'communities of practice' developed over time. This form of knowledge constitute viable expertise for governing and management of the environment-tourism nexus in the areas but needs to be acknowledged as a complementary management platform. The article demonstrates how such monitoring can be done, and suggests some principles for developing monitoring knowledge for administrative and management puposes.
This is accepted manuscript version. Published version available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S003224741500039X