Legitimacy, Adaptation and Resilience in Ecosystem Management

Cosens, B. A. 2013. Legitimacy, adaptation, and resilience in ecosystem management. Ecology and Society 8(1): 3. DOI: 10.5751/ES-05093-180103

Posted: 13 Oct 2011 Last revised: 16 Jan 2016

See all articles by Barbara A. Cosens

Barbara A. Cosens

University of Idaho - College of Law

Date Written: May 19, 2011

Abstract

Ecologists have made great strides in developing criteria for describing the resilience of an ecological system. In addition, expansion of that effort to social-ecological systems has begun the process of identifying changes to the social system necessary to foster resilience in an ecological system such as the use of adaptive management and integrated ecosystem management. However, these changes to governance needed to foster ecosystem resilience will not be adopted by democratic societies without careful attention to their effect on the social system itself. Delegation of increased flexibility for adaptive management to resource management agencies must include careful attention to assuring that increased flexibility is exercised in a manner that is legitimate and responsive to the social system. Similarly, democratic systems proceed in incremental steps and are not likely to adopt wholesale changes to achieve integrated ecosystem management. This paper uses the concept of legitimacy in governance as a necessary component of any change to achieve greater social-ecological resilience and will turn to network theory as a means to facilitate legitimacy across multiple jurisdictions.

Keywords: resilience, water governance, adaptive management, adaptive governance

JEL Classification: Q25, Q28

Suggested Citation

Cosens, Barbara A., Legitimacy, Adaptation and Resilience in Ecosystem Management (May 19, 2011). Cosens, B. A. 2013. Legitimacy, adaptation, and resilience in ecosystem management. Ecology and Society 8(1): 3. DOI: 10.5751/ES-05093-180103 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1942875 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1942875

Barbara A. Cosens (Contact Author)

University of Idaho - College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 442321
Moscow, ID 83844-2321
United States
208 885-6298 (Phone)
208 885-2859 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.uidaho.edu/law/people/faculty/bcosens

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