Governance and Institutions
Governance is a multilevel process established by humans
to craft institutions—rules—that affect who can do what in
relation to specific aspects of a linked social–ecological
system (SES), who will monitor conformance to these rules,
and how these rules may be modified over time in light
of feedback from the SES itself and from those involved in
its use, management, and conservation. Governance processes may be undertaken by governments (which are
one type of organization) as well as by organizations of all
|1. ||The diversity of social-ecological systems|
|2. ||Common-pool resources|
|3. ||The conventional theory of common-pool
|4. ||Self-organized resource governance systems in
|5. ||Attributes of a resource and resource users that
increase the likelihood of self-organization|
|6. ||Types of ownership used in self-organized field
|7. ||The importance of larger governance
|8. ||The advantages of polycentric resource
GLOSSARYcommon-pool resource. A resource system in which it
is costly to exclude potential beneficiaries, but one
person’s use subtracts resource units from those
available to othersgovernance. The process of crafting institutional rules
to fit diverse settingsinstitutional rules. Rules defining rights and responsibilities of participants in a repeated settingpolycentric systems. A governance system in which
citizens are able to organize multiple governing
authorities at differing scalessocial–ecological system. An ecological system and a
linked social system of resource users and their
governance arrangements (if present)
1. THE DIVERSITY OF SOCIAL–ECOLOGICALReaders 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.Relevant organizations include families, private
for-profit and not-for-profit firms, neighborhood groups,
and communities living in or near to an ecological system. The rules crafted in a governance process regulate
one or more of the following:
|• ||Who is authorized to harvest specific types of resource units from a particular SES and for what
mix of purposes?|
|• ||The timing, quantity, location, and technology of
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: The Princeton Guide to Ecology.
Contributors: Simon A. Levin - Editor.
Publisher: Princeton University Press.
Place of publication: Princeton, NJ.
Publication year: 2012.
Page number: 748.
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