The theme of the paper is a set of conceptual frameworks that discusses how conservation and management knowledge develops, and how this knowledge is acquired by the local resource management systems through a continuous process of adaptation. It also examines the process of knowledge building as an integral part of adaptive co-management. Through analysis of certain bases of adaptive Community Forest Management (CFM) and various modes through which the process of adaptation occurs, the paper argues with examples that the entire process of adaptation is actually synonymous to creation and acquisition of knowledge by the Community Based Resource Conservation and Management (CBRCM) systems. It emphasizes that the management systems learn through their actions in an evolutionary manner and that this learning is a conscious process. New or modified knowledge and learning make adaptation a creative response to developments in the micro-macro environment and a part of their coping approach to deal with uncertainties. The discussions in the paper primarily revolve around both social-institutional and ecological processes in collaborative and participatory forest management with specific reference to India.
Keywords: Adaptive co-management, Community Forest Management, Conservation Knowledge, Social-Institutional and Ecological Systems, Community Based Resource Conservation and Management.