The Governance Challenge: Matching Institutions to the Structure of Social-Ecological Systems
PRINCETON GUIDE TO ECOLOGY, Simon Levin, ed., Princeton University Press, Forthcoming
17 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2008
Date Written: 2007
Readers of this Princeton Guide to Ecology will be well informed about the immense diversity of ecological systems. Ecological systems vary in regard to their geographic range, density of specific plant and animal populations, patterns of species diversity, nutrient cycling, landscape dynamics, and disturbance patterns - to name just a few of the subjects included in the Sections of this Guide. Ecological systems are complex systems with interactions occurring at multiple spatial and temporal scales.
In addition to the diversity of ecological systems considered independent of human interactions, the variety of linked social-ecological systems (SESs) that exist in the world is even larger. The 'social' side varies in regard to the size and socioeconomic attributes of users, the history of their use, the location of their residences and their work places, the types of leadership and entrepreneurship experienced, the cultural norms they share, the level of human and social capital they have, their knowledge about the ecological system, their dependence on the system for diverse purposes, and the technologies available to them - to name just a few of the most important general characteristics.
Keywords: governance and politics, institutions, common pool resources, polycentricity, social-ecological systems
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