A Decade of Adaptive Governance Scholarship: Synthesis and Future Directions

Chaffin BC, Gosnell H, Cosens BA. 2014. A decade of adaptive governance: Synthesis and future directions. Ecology and Society 19(3): 56, 2014

13 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2016 Last revised: 21 Jan 2016

See all articles by Brian Chaffin

Brian Chaffin

University of Montana

Hannah Gosnell

Oregon State University

Barbara A. Cosens

University of Idaho - College of Law

Date Written: January 18, 2016

Abstract

Adaptive governance is an emergent form of environmental governance that is increasingly called upon by scholars and practitioners to coordinate resource management regimes in the face of the complexity and uncertainty associated with rapid environmental change. Although the term “adaptive governance” is not exclusively applied to the governance of social-ecological systems, related research represents a significant outgrowth of literature on resilience, social-ecological systems, and environmental governance. We present a chronology of major scholarship on adaptive governance, synthesizing efforts to define the concept and identifying the array of governance concepts associated with transformation toward adaptive governance. Based on this synthesis, we define adaptive governance as a range of interactions between actors, networks, organizations, and institutions emerging in pursuit of a desired state for social-ecological systems. In addition, we identify and discuss ambiguities in adaptive governance scholarship such as the roles of adaptive management, crisis, and a desired state for governance of social-ecological systems. Finally, we outline a research agenda to examine whether an adaptive governance approach can become institutionalized under current legal frameworks and political contexts. We suggest a further investigation of the relationship between adaptive governance and the principles of good governance; the roles of power and politics in the emergence of adaptive governance; and potential interventions such as legal reform that may catalyze or enhance governance adaptations or transformation toward adaptive governance.

Keywords: adaptive governance, resilience, collaborative governance, co-management

Suggested Citation

Chaffin, Brian and Gosnell, Hannah and Cosens, Barbara A., A Decade of Adaptive Governance Scholarship: Synthesis and Future Directions (January 18, 2016). Chaffin BC, Gosnell H, Cosens BA. 2014. A decade of adaptive governance: Synthesis and future directions. Ecology and Society 19(3): 56, 2014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2717757

Brian Chaffin (Contact Author)

University of Montana ( email )

32 Campus Drive
Missoula, MT 598012
United States
4062436575 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cfc.umt.edu/personnel/details.php?ID=4123

Hannah Gosnell

Oregon State University ( email )

Bexell Hall 200
Corvallis, OR 97331
United States

Barbara A. Cosens

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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