Planning models describe how planning may proceed. Several models have been developed over the past decades. Each reflects different values and assumptions about the nature of the world for which planning is done and about the role of the planner (Mitchell 2002). Two important ones for natural resource management and development are presented here – comprehensive rational planning and transactive planning (see figure).
Note how they differ concerning the involvement of the local population in the planning process. It is increasingly recognised that participative ways of planning are essential for natural resource management and rural development (Bunch 2000; FAO 2003; Stone and McCarthy 2000, among others).
A model that explicitly considers uncertainty in prognoses about reactions of systems and limited knowledge of the planner – two challenges the planner is faced with - is adaptive planning. New information and insights are integrated quickly and continuously in the planning process, and management is adjusted correspondingly. For watershed managers and planners it is enlightening to look at further planning models (e.g., incremental planning, mixed scanning).
For which units planning can be done is explained in the following (planning units).