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The Drama of the Commons 9 Cross-Scale Institutional Linkages: Perspectives from the Bottom Up Fikret Berkes The balance of evidence from the commons literature of the past few decades is that neither purely local-level management nor purely higher level management works well by itself. Rather, there is a need to design and support management institutions at more than one level, with attention to interactions across scale from the local level up. Here we use cross-scale interactions to refer to linking institutions both horizontally (across space) and vertically (across levels of organization). Cross-scale institutional linkages mean something more than management at several scales, isolated from one another. Issues need to be considered simultaneously at several scales when there is coupling or interaction between scales. Indeed, many cases of resource and environmental management are cross-scale in both space and time. For example, many inshore tropical fisheries in island nations of the world, such as in the Caribbean, southeast Asia, and Oceania, are carried out by small-scale fishing units that do not range more than a day from a home port (Berkes et al., 2001). Fishers follow community norms, and if there is any regulation in these fisheries, it is community-based. However, many of the stocks they fish range into areas harvested by other groups around the island, and should ideally be managed over a larger area covering the whole island or several islands. Of course, some of the stocks, such as tunas, also travel across the national boundaries of these island states. The Caribbean flying fish stock, for example, ranges through at least six island nations, and requires bilateral and multilateral agreements for its management (Berkes et al., 2001). Clearly, such fisheries cannot be managed at a single scale but rather must be managed at multiple scales. As there is coupling between scales, management institutions need to be linked both horizontally across geographic space and ver-
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The Drama of the Commons tically across levels of organization. Furthermore, in a globalized world, the need for cross-scale institutions and vertical linkages becomes even greater. Globalization intensifies coupling and renders local institutions increasingly vulnerable. Local rules with emphasis on “how” people should fish rather than “how much” (Wilson et al., 1994) break down in most modern commercial fisheries subject to national and international market pressures, requiring other measures such as quota management to cap the quantity of harvest (Hilborn and Walters, 1992) and the crafting of new and different kinds of institutions. The focus on institutions emerges from the commons literature documenting a rich diversity of ways in which rules can be made to avert the commons dilemma. Much of this literature refers to local-level commons institutions, and the bulk of the scholarship is concerned with community-based management. There are commons issues at the global level as well, and at various levels from the local to the global, with a growing literature base. However, the links between the various scales of commons management have not received much attention. Yet these links and the cross-scale institutions that provide them are important in their own right. Given the significance of cross-scale institutional linkages and their dynamics, surprisingly little research has been carried out in this area. There is a large literature on common property institutions, and a growing base of mostly empirical literature on co-management, or the sharing of management power and responsibility between the government and local-level institutions, but relatively little on cross-scale institutions per se. Ostrom (1990) has proposed a set of seven design principles, plus an eighth for nested systems, that appears to characterize robust common property institutions. These principles have been widely used to guide research, despite perceived shortcomings (e.g., Steins et al., 2000). Agrawal (this volume:Chapter 2) argues that the number of factors that may be critical for commons management may more likely be on the order of 35, and that existing theory is short in specifying what makes for sustainable commons management. Young (this volume:Chapter 8) has drawn attention to the importance of partnerships between or among different levels of agencies, and the potential of such arrangements in dealing with problems of vertical linkages in institutional interplay. He points out, however, that we are far from the formulation of well-tested propositions about the determinants of success and failure in these cross-scale management regimes. The subject of this chapter is the investigation of cross-scale institutional linkages, including co-management arrangements, and the exploration of new research directions. Within this larger goal, the objectives are (1) to identify promising institutional forms for linking across levels of institutions, and (2) to investigate the dynamics of cross-scale institutions in reference to adaptive management and resilience. The chapter begins with a review and synthesis of the impacts of higher level institutions (national and international) on local-level institutions, as a way of
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The Drama of the Commons introducing the importance of vertical and horizontal linkages. It summarizes a variety of ways in which larger scale institutions can interfere with or support smaller scale ones. This part deals with some of the same issues as the chapter by Young, except that Young approaches the problems by linking the national level to the global, whereas this chapter takes a perspective from the bottom up. The second section of the chapter proceeds to identify some institutional forms that facilitate cross-scale resource and environmental management, noting that there is as yet no accepted typology of these emerging cross-scale linking institutions. Some of these institutions are captured by the catch-all term, co-management. However, the chapter argues, this term hides complexity and is inadequate to encompass the full range of cross-linking institutions. As well, there is a need to move beyond the static analysis inherent in looking merely at institutional forms; we need to investigate processes of institutional change. Hence, the third section focuses on the dynamics of cross-scale institutional linkages and the issue of scale. It develops the argument that the adaptive management approach may be useful in building a theory of cross-scale institutional linkages. A key concept is resilience, used here to refer to the ability of a system to absorb perturbations and to build capacity for self-organization, learning, and adaptation. Resilience thinking is a useful tool to link social systems and natural systems (Berkes and Folke, 1998). It helps to investigate scale issues not only from the institutional point of view per se, but also in regard to the fit between institutional scales and the ecosystem that generates resources at multiple scales (Folke et al., 1998). Given that cross-scale institutional linkages have not been explored extensively, this chapter offers not a definitive review, but some concepts and hypotheses that may serve as a starting point for further research and theory development. The research agenda that comes out of this chapter is at an early rather than a mature stage. The scope of the chapter is local to national, focusing on the link between local institutions and higher level government entities. Various cross-scale management issues involving different levels of government, for example, between federal- or state-level agencies or between the European Union and its member states, are outside the scope of this chapter. Also beyond the scope is the growing literature in political science and public administration on the relationships among national, state, and local levels of government. EFFECTS OF HIGHER LEVEL INSTITUTIONS ON LOCAL INSTITUTIONS The commons literature is full of examples of the impacts of the state on local institutions. Some of the mechanisms or processes by which higher level institutions impact local institutions include centralization of decision making; shifts in systems of knowledge; colonization; nationalization of resources; in-
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The Drama of the Commons creased participation in national and international markets; and national-level development projects. Table 9-1 provides examples of each of these six classes of impacts; here we expand on the first two. Excessive centralization of resource management is not confined to countries with centrally planned economies such as the former Soviet Union. It is found in nearly all governments in which resource management functions have been taken over by a managerial elite. However, such centralization has not occurred uniformly across resource types and geographic areas. For example, in the adjacent Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec, the development of provincial resource management agencies took different paths. In Ontario, the provin- TABLE 9-1 Effects of Higher Level Institutions on Local Institutions Class of Impacts Examples Centralization of decision making The former Soviet Union centralized decision making for rational resource management and for setting production targets, sweeping away, in the process, local management systems and institutions such as the artels of the Ural Cossacks for managing fisheries of the Caspian Sea region (Kropotkin, 1914). Shifts in systems of knowledge From the 1950s onward, caribou management in the Canadian Arctic came to be based primarily on quantitative population models. Science replaced aboriginal management systems based on accumulated local observations and ethical rules (Berkes, 1999). Colonization To create revenues from timber extraction, the colonial regime in India dismantled local institutions for forest and grazing land management, moving the locus of control to the center (Gadgil and Guha, 1992). Nationalization of resources The Government of Nepal nationalized forests in 1957 (to curb deforestation), but the result was the creation of de facto open access because the government measure disempowered local institutions that had functioned in forest resource sharing (Messerschmidt, 1993). Increased participation in markets To take advantage of the demand for prawns in the international market, the government subsidized trawlers in the 1960s and the 1970s in Kerala, India, in an area previously dominated by small-scale, nonmechanized boats, touching off a social crisis and a resource crisis (Kurien, 1992). Development policies On lands occupied and used by Barabig pastoralists in Tanzania, state policies for the development of wheat agriculture, supported by international development agencies, resulted in the destruction of local institutions for sustainable land use (Lane, 1992).
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The Drama of the Commons cial agency was already well organized by the end of the 1940s. Through the strong presence of this agency, wildlife management was centralized early on, even in northern Ontario, which is occupied predominantly by aboriginal groups. By contrast, in Quebec, the government management agency was only weakly present in the north, even as late as the 1970s. Perhaps as a result, local institutions for wildlife management were strongly present in the Cree areas of northern Quebec as late as the 1980s and effectively managed wildlife (Drolet et al., 1987). By contrast, in the Cree areas of northern Ontario, such institutions were almost nonexistent, presumably because they had been swept away by centralization (Berkes et al., 1991). The replacement of local institutions by centralized ones often involves a change in the way knowledge is used for management. Local institutions tend to use their own folk knowledge, often referred to as local knowledge, indigenous knowledge, or traditional ecological knowledge, whereas centralized management agencies tend to use internationally accepted scientific practice and often assume away local knowledge and practice (Berkes, 1999; Williams and Baines, 1993). The shift of knowledge systems is one of the major impacts of government-level institutions on local institutions because it is often accompanied by a change in control over a resource. The differences between the two systems of knowledge can be substantial in the way resources are viewed. A case in point is caribou management in the Canadian North (Berkes, 1999). A number of studies indicate that aboriginal hunters from the Arctic and the Subarctic monitor caribou distributions, migration patterns and their change, predator presence, individual behavior, sex and age composition of the herd, and fat deposits in animals. The Western science of caribou management also monitors much the same things, but there is a fundamental difference: decision making in scientific management is based primarily on population models. The aboriginal system, by contrast, is based on local observations and ethics, assumes that caribou are not predictable or controllable, and does not try to use harvest or population size estimates. Rather, it pays relatively high attention to fat content (an excellent integrative indicator of caribou health) and uses a qualitative mental model that provides hunters with an indication of trends over time. This qualitative model reveals the direction (increasing or decreasing) in which the population is headed, without requiring the estimation of the population size itself (Berkes, 1999). This locally developed, aboriginal approach to management has potential to result in good resource management, but it is different from scientific management. Centralization of management leads to a shift in the knowledge system used. Government management of resources, based on universal science rather than on locally developed knowledge, undermines the knowledge systems, as well as the institutions, of northern aboriginal groups. Hence, the centralization of resource management and the assertion of “government’s science” becomes a political tool for the control of the local indigenous populations (Freeman, 1989).
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The Drama of the Commons In the list of impacts of higher level institutions on local-level ones in Table 9-1, many of the examples seem to show negative impacts. However, the designation of impacts as “negative” or “positive” is a value judgment. For example, impacts of modernization and economic development on local institutions may be seen as negative by some and positive by others. Increased participation in markets may result in the shift of control over a resource from the local institutions to the outside. But there are also counterexamples in which commercialization of a subsistence resource has resulted in the strengthening of local-level institutions. An example is the evolution of the family-controlled beaver trapping territory system in eastern James Bay, Canada, with the advent of the fur trade after the 18th century. The ethnohistorical evidence is not conclusive, but Berkes (1989a) speculated that as the beaver resource became more valuable and scarce, tighter controls became necessary, shifting a loosely controlled communal system of use into a family-controlled system with a senior trapper (“beaver boss”) in charge. A model was proposed in which the local institutional strength was governed by two driving forces, the intensification of resource use (as a result of trade or other factors) and the incursion of outsiders (commercial hunters as stimulated by high fur prices) into the system. The model was consistent with the historical record of three cycles of exploitation—each of which involved creation of open access, resource decline, reassertion of local controls, and resource recovery (Berkes, 1989a). In general, historical factors are often important in determining whether the impacts of higher level institutions on the local ones are positive or negative. A distinction should be made between processes and their outcomes. As pointed out by S. Stonich and P.C. Stern (personal communication, August 2000), a process such as decolonization might have either positive or negative impacts on local institutions, depending on how it is carried out. If it results in the centralization of power, for example, it would seem likely to have negative effects on local institutions. The same can be said about the process of commercialization of a subsistence resource. The speed of change may be one important factor; a local institution is more likely to adapt to a perturbation over a period of decades than a period of months. Ecological considerations, such as the level of exploitation of a resource as compared to its natural rate of replenishment, are also important. The locus of control of the resource is yet another factor. However, we do not have in hand well-tested propositions about the determinants of the outcome. Higher level institutions can also impact local-level ones through deliberate interventions. The commons literature includes many examples of how certain forms of state involvement may strengthen or rejuvenate local-level institutions. These include state recognition of local institutions; development of enabling legislation; cultural revitalization; capacity building; and local institution building (see Table 9-2). Here we expand on the first and touch on the second of these five items.
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The Drama of the Commons TABLE 9-2 Strengthening Local-Level Institutions for Cross-Scale Interaction Classes of Activities Examples State legitimization of local institutions If resource users have the right to devise their own institutions without being challenged by external authorities, they can enforce the rules themselves. This is the principle of “minimal recognition of rights to organize” (Ostrom, 1990). Enabling legislation Legislation that makes it possible, or creates the legal preconditions, in this case, for the effective functioning of local-level institutions. Enabling legislation may be used to provide legitimacy for locally devised rules, or it may in other ways empower local institutions (Peters, 1986). Cultural and political revitalization Resistance to dominant culture and political force; sometimes used to refer to broader social and political action in which the dominant group is overthrown, not only in form but also in ideology (Smith, 1999). Revitalization movements may be about empowerment and cultural rediscovery, as well as revival of local institutions. Capacity building The sum of efforts needed to nurture, enhance, and utilize the skills and capabilities of people and institutions at all levels—nationally, regionally, and internationally. It does not seek to resolve specific problems but rather seeks to develop the capacity within communities, governments, and other organizations to resolve their own problems (National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, 1998). Institution building Institutions can be crafted (Ostrom, 1992). Local institutions for the commons also may arise spontaneously, but this often takes time. Local institutions may be helped along by creating a favorable environment that speeds up their development. Some NGOs specialize in such institution building. Legitimization or recognition of local-level institutions is a well-known theme in the commons literature. Among the design principles illustrated by long-enduring common property institutions analyzed by Ostrom (1990:90) is “the right of appropriators to devise their own institutions” without being challenged by external authorities. This, as Ostrom puts it, is the “minimal recognition of rights to organize.” If government recognizes locally developed rules, community institutions are in a better position to enforce these rules themselves. In some
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The Drama of the Commons cases, the state may go further and legally recognize local rules. However, this has some disadvantages as well as advantages. The inherent risk in codifying local rules, such as those of marine tenure systems, is that writing them down may “freeze” them in space and time, thereby reducing their flexibility (Baines, 1989). Some of the aboriginal land claims settlements in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia provide examples of state recognition of local institutions. For example, Canada’s James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement of 1975 explicitly and legally recognizes the hunter-trapper organizations of the Cree and their jurisdiction over certain kinds of resources, mainly fish and wildlife, and their management (Berkes et al., 1991). Government legislation that provides for state recognition of local institutions may be considered enabling legislation. The importance of enabling legislation was recognized early on by commons specialists, as reflected in the consensus of participants in the closing comments of the 1985 Conference on Common Property Resource Management (Peters, 1986). Additional mechanisms to strengthen local-level institutions are provided by revitalization movements, capacity building, and local institution building. There is no widely accepted classification of these interventions and changes, and the classes can no doubt be subdivided further. However, detailed typologies necessarily will be fuzzy and of limited value. Perhaps more important, the consideration of mechanisms in support of local institutions highlights the dynamic nature of institutions. Ostrom’s idea that there is a bank or a “capital” of institutions from which institutions actually can be crafted (Ostrom, 1992) serves to highlight the dynamics of institutions. Even though the literature is rich in cases, we lack theory and guiding principles, perhaps through the identification of driving forces, to build or strengthen local institutions. Promising lines of inquiry will perhaps emerge out of commons dilemma experiments (Kopelman et al., this volume:Chapter 4) and common-pool resource games (Falk et al., this volume:Chapter 5), as well as out of carefully constructed multivariate research on commons management regimes (Bardhan and Dayton-Johnson, this volume:Chapter 3). However, these approaches are unlikely to be sufficient by themselves because the historical and cultural context of cases is so important. Critics have pointed out that some of the commons literature tends to concentrate on local-level institutions to the exclusion of the outside world that impacts them and shapes them (e.g., Steins et al., 2000). There is not much debate there; impacts of higher level institutions are clearly pervasive. Commons management cannot be done only at the local or the national level; it is cross-scale, with the larger scale institutions interfering with or supporting smaller scale ones through a diversity of mechanisms. We turn next to consider some institutional forms that facilitate interactions across scales of organization, and examine how institutions at various levels can be vertically linked, how they come into existence, and, in some cases, how they change.
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The Drama of the Commons PROMISING INSTITUTIONS FOR CROSS-SCALE LINKAGES In recent years a literature has developed on forms of institutions with potential for cross-scale linkages. One of these forms is co-management (Jentoft, 1989; Pinkerton, 1989). Others include multistakeholder bodies; institutions oriented for development, empowerment, and co-management; the emerging class of institutions for “citizen science”; policy communities; and social movement networks. Much of this literature has not yet been connected to the commons research community, and the same can be said about the literature on public participation (e.g., Renn et al., 1995; Dietz and Stern, 1998). Table 9-3 lists some characteristics of each type. A seventh and somewhat different set concerns research and management approaches that enable cross-scale linkages. We discuss each in turn. Co-Management Arrangements Between Communities and Governments The simplest kind of cross-scale institutional linkage is the one that connects local-level management with government-level management in partnerships. Literature contains examples of co-management arrangements in a diversity of regions with a number of resource sectors. Many co-management initiatives are in progress in the areas of fisheries, wildlife, protected areas, forests, and other resources in various parts of the world, from Joint Forest Management in India (Poffenberger and McGean, 1996) to the implementation of aboriginal resource rights in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. Often there are legal reasons for instituting co-management arrangements, as in aboriginal land and resource claims (Singleton, 1998). But another reason for the growing interest is that effective resource management often requires partnerships to combine the strengths of government-level and local-level resource management and to mitigate the weaknesses of each (Pomeroy and Berkes, 1997). In some cases, as in the Philippines coastal fisheries, the development of co-management is related to the government’s problems with enforcement (Pomeroy, 1995). Conflict resolution is another primary reason for co-management arrangements, as documented in a Costa Rican coastal national park (Weitzner and Fonseca Borras, 1999). This is consistent with McCay’s observation (this volume:Chapter 11) that commons institutions often serve the purpose of conflict resolution. Figure 9-1 shows the linkages in two co-management arrangements. The first (Figure 9-1a) is the Beverly-Qamanirjuaq Caribou Co-Management Board in northern Canada. Although this is not a co-management arrangement under land claims and not legally binding, it is a longstanding body (since 1982), and it is considered successful in resolving disputes and in enabling effective local input into what used to be a centrally managed resource (Kendrick, 2000). The second example (Figure 9-1b) is a formally legislated aboriginal land claims
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The Drama of the Commons TABLE 9-3 Characteristics of Some Institutional Forms That Enhance Cross-Scale Interplay Institutional Form Vertical Linkages Power Sharing Area of Emphasis Examples Co-management Local-level users with the government level Formal power sharing in partnership A mechanism to enable local-level users to participate in management Aboriginal land claims agreements Multistakeholder bodies Multiple user groups and interests with the government level Often advisory Often a tool for public participation Model Forest stakeholder groups; see Table 9-4 Development empowerment co-management organizations Often a three-way relationship with users, NGOs, and government agencies Rarely formal power sharing Social development, empowerment Bangladesh fisheries; see Figure 9-2 Citizen science Local activist groups with government agencies Information and policy partnerships but rarely formal power-sharing Citizen activism for environmental management Watershed associations in Minnesota Policy communities The local level with the regional and international No formal power sharing Solving regional problems, with local input Epistemic communities in the Mediterranean Action Plan Social movement World networks Emphasis on horizontal linkages; some vertical linkages No formal power sharing North-South linkages to address impacts of higher level institutions The Third Network and the World Trade Organization agreement on trade-related IPRs settlement, the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (Berkes, 1989b). In the second example, co-management applies not only to one species, as in the caribou case, but to an area with all the resources in it. As Figure 9-1 illustrates, in both cases, the co-management arrangement provides vertical linkages, not only between the local level and the government, but also with regional and provincial governments as appropriate.
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The Drama of the Commons FIGURE 9-1 Cross-scale linkages in co-management arrangements: (a) Beverly-Qamanirjuaq Caribou Co-Management Board, and (b) James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, Canada. Figure 9-1 shows the outline of vertical arrangements but hides the details of the actual interactions involved in the cases, from the signing of the agreement to its implementation. A co-management agreement goes only part of the way to produce a viable arrangement. Simply put, there is little incentive for government agencies to share the power they hold (Lele, 2000). There are good reasons to be skeptical of all claims of successful co-management—at least, of easy successes.
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The Drama of the Commons expensive or time consuming to resolve, as well as others that are not resolvable due to the inherent uncertainty and unpredictability of nature (Wilson, this volume:Chapter 10). The rationale for the consideration of uncertainty comes mainly from the recognition that natural systems and social systems are seldom linear and predictable, and from systems theory that emphasizes connectedness, context, and feedback. Processes in ecology, economics, and many other areas are dominated by nonlinear phenomena and an essential quality of uncertainty. These observations have led to the notion of complexity, developed through the work of many people and groups, notably the Santa Fe Institute (2001). In complex systems, small changes can magnify quickly and flip a system into one of many alternative paths. Such systems organize around one of several possible equilibrium states or attractors. When conditions change, the system’s feedback loops tend to maintain its current state—up to a point. At a certain level of change in conditions (threshold), the system can change rapidly and catastrophically. Just when such a flip may occur and the state into which the system will change are rarely predictable (Holling, 1986). Turning to the issue of learning, steps (3), (5), and (6) of adaptive management require that managers learn from the outcome of the decisions made. Adaptive management emphasizes learning by doing, and this is accomplished by treating policies as hypotheses and management as experiments from which managers can learn. Organizations and institutions can learn as individuals do, and hence adaptive management is based on social learning. Lee (1993) details such social learning based on the extensive experience with the Columbia River basin, a region full of cross-scale institutions. By emphasizing the interaction between management institutions and the biophysical system, Lee (1993) argues that one cannot expect to manage the environment unless one understands the effects of this interaction. The goal of adaptive management is different from conventional management. In adaptive management, the goal is not to produce the highest biological or economic yield, but to understand the system and to learn more about uncertainties by probing the system. Feedback from management outcomes provides for corrections to avoid thresholds that may threaten the ecosystem and the social and economic system based on it. Thus, adaptive management depends on feedbacks from the environment in shaping policy, followed by further systematic experimentation to shape subsequent policy, and so on; the process is iterative (Holling, 1986; Holling et al., 1998). Adaptive management is an understudied area in commons research, except perhaps in fisheries. Lee’s (1993) work shows how the study of institutions and participatory processes can be combined with research on adaptive management. Many interdisciplinary scholars are looking for adaptive management-style alternatives to conventional scientific approaches in dealing with problems of complex systems. For example, in the area of sustainability, Kates et al. (2001) argue
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The Drama of the Commons that “sustainability science must differ fundamentally from most science as we know it.” The common sequential analytical phases of scientific inquiry, such as conceptualizing the problem, collecting data, developing theories, and applying the results, need to become, in the emerging sustainability science, parallel functions of social learning, adaptive management, and policy as experiment. In particular, this new kind of science recognizes the need to act before scientific uncertainties can be resolved (Dietz and Stern, 1998). This is not only because it is difficult to get experts to agree on something but also because some uncertainties are not resolvable by science. Hence, as McCay (this volume:Chapter 11) suggests, it becomes important for commons management to design institutions and processes that bring scientists and resource users to work together. For example, the participation of fishers in decision making not only increases the likelihood that they “buy into” management decisions, but it also makes sure that the parties share the risk in decision making in an uncertain world, a much humbler role for the manager (Berkes et al., 2001). Resilience Partnerships of managers and users do not resolve scientific uncertainties, but they help place those uncertainties in an institutional context that encourages building trust among parties, learning by doing, and developing the capacity to respond—in short, building resilient institutions. Resilience is a central idea in the application of adaptive management. It has three defining characteristics. Resilience is a measure of (1) the amount of change the system can undergo and still retain the same controls on function and structure; (2) the degree to which the system is capable of self-organization; and (3) the ability to build and increase the capacity for learning and adaptation (Resilience Alliance, 2001). Resilience is an emergent property in complex systems terminology, that is, a property that cannot be predicted or understood simply by examining the system’s parts. Resilience is a crucially important property of a system because the loss of resilience moves a system closer to a threshold, threatening to flip it from one equilibrium state to another. Just when the system will reach the threshold is difficult to predict; such changes constitute surprises or events which, even in hindsight, could not have been predicted (Holling, 1986). Conversely, increased resilience moves a system away from thresholds. Highly resilient systems can absorb stresses and perturbations without undergoing a flip; they are capable of self-organization and have the ability to build and increase capacity for learning and adaptation. The idea of resilience has been applied mostly to ecosystem dynamics to study renewal cycles, equilibrium shifts, and adaptive processes in general. Use of the resilience idea is based on the assumption that cyclic change is an essential characteristic of all social and ecological systems. For example, resource crises (such as a forest fire) are important for the renewal of ecosystems. Such renewal
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The Drama of the Commons occurs through an “adaptive cycle” often consisting of exploitation-conservation-release-reorganization phases. Adaptive cycles are driven by naturally occurring crises. If renewal is delayed or impeded, a larger and more damaging crisis eventually occurs, endangering the structure and function of the system and its ability for self-organization. For example, strict fire controls in forests and parks prevent renewal. They can result in the accumulation of fuel loads (leaf litter) on the forest floor, making the forest susceptible to “fires of an extent and cost never experienced before” (Holling, 1986:300), such as the fire that swept nearly half of Yellowstone National Park in 1988. The resilience idea has been applied to linked social-ecological systems. In a study of environmental management in several large ecosystems, Gunderson et al. (1995) found a close coupling between ecosystem crises and crises in the governmental agencies in charge of managing them. In several of the cases, environmental crises led to institutional crises, as in Chesapeake Bay and Florida Everglades, and solutions were accompanied by institutional learning and renewal. How far can the link between ecosystems and institutions be pursued? Resource crises do not always lead to institutional crises and renewal, as in the case of the Newfoundland cod collapse (Finlayson and McCay, 1998). However, there is considerable evidence to support the idea that crises do play a useful role in some cases by triggering renewal and reorganization in both ecosystems and institutions, thus building resilience (Gunderson et al., 1995). Such considerations can lead to new empirical and theoretical work on linkages between social and ecological systems, and on the question of what produces adaptive capacity in institutions. Levin et al. (1998) and Levin (1999) have emphasized two clusters of features that make for a resilient system. One is the presence of effective and tight feedback mechanisms or a coupling of stimulus and response in space and time. For example, it is relatively easy to get a neighborhood association to act on a problem. But as problems become broader in scale (e.g., regional air pollution), the feedback loops become looser and the motivation to act becomes less. Creating appropriate incentive structures can be done by tightening cost and benefit feedback loops, for example, by assigning property rights. In some cases when the market can work properly and social costs are taken into account, privatization is an effective measure (Levin et al., 1998). In other cases, the transfer of communal property rights to local groups can be effective. For example, under the Joint Forest Management program, local controls and profit-sharing arrangements between government and villagers restored the productivity of previously degraded forest areas in West Bengal, India (Poffenberger and McGean, 1996). Similarly, the transfer of property rights to local groups has fostered wild-life conservation in parts of Africa (Murphree, 1994). A second feature of a resilient system is the maintenance of heterogeneity, and the availability of a diversity of options for selection to act on as conditions change. The resilience of any complex adaptive system is embodied in the diver-
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The Drama of the Commons sity of its components and their capacity for adaptive change. Heterogeneity helps maintain redundancy of function. Such redundancy would not be important if systems had one equilibrium state and conditions were relatively static. But often they are not. “Redundancy and heterogeneity are hand and glove; much redundancy is reflected, for example, in the heterogeneity within functional groups of species performing similar ecological roles” (Levin, 1999:202). What do these observations mean for social and institutional resilience? The diversity of options idea is similar to Ostrom’s (1992) institutional capital. It is consistent also with Adger’s (2000) analysis of the resilience of institutions, and his emphasis on social capital, inclusivity of the institution, and the degree of development of trust relations among the parties. The heterogeneity/ redundancy idea brings an insight to the interpretation, for example, of the diversity of reef and lagoon tenure systems and other common property institutions observed in Oceania (Baines, 1989; Williams and Baines, 1993), and the folly of replacing such a diversity with a simple scientific resource management measure such as fisheries quotas (Wilson et al., 1994). Regarding cross-scale institutions, the insight from resilience and diversity is that it makes sense to continue to develop different kinds of co-management arrangements and other institutional forms. There is no such thing as an optimum arrangement that can be replicated everywhere. Resilience thinking helps commons researchers to look beyond institutional forms, and ask instead questions regarding the adaptive capacity of social groups and their institutions to deal with stresses as a result of social, political, and environmental change. One way to approach this question is to look for informative case studies of change in social-ecological systems and to investigate how societies deal with change. From these cases, one can hope to gain insights regarding capacity building to adapt to change and, in turn, to shape change. These are, in fact, the objectives of a team project in progress (Folke and Berkes, 1998). The resilience approach provides a promising entry point to move from static analysis of cross-scale linkages to the study of institutional dynamics. In highlighting change, it forces a reversal of the conventional equilibrium-centered thinking. As van der Leeuw (2000) puts it, rather than assuming stability and explaining change, one needs to assume change and explain stability. Adaptive management and resilience have been used to study the interactions of regional, national, and state-level agencies (Gunderson et al., 1995) and cross-scale interactions involving citizen participation in regional environmental management (Lee, 1993). CONCLUSION The chapter began with a review and synthesis of the impacts of higher level institutions on local-level institutions, as a way of introducing the importance of vertical and horizontal linkages and detailing the variety of ways in which larger
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The Drama of the Commons scale institutions can interfere with or, alternatively, support smaller scale ones. The second section pointed to some promising and emerging institutional forms for cross-scale linkages, concluding that co-management, as a catch-all term, is not adequate to encompass the full range of cross-linking institutions. The section emphasized that the consideration of institutional forms readily leads to the question of institutional dynamics. The third section raised the question of dynamics of institutions as a major subject area for future research, and made a case for the adaptive management approach, with a consideration of resilience, for building a theory of cross-scale institutional linkages. Much of commons research brings together social sciences and natural sciences, and uses research methods and approaches from a variety of disciplines. But there is a need for tools to enable commons researchers to deal with people and environment as an integrated system. In particular, there is a need to study how institutions may respond to environmental feedbacks. The emphasis of adaptive management on feedback learning is important in this regard. As a key concept of adaptive management, resilience provides a window for the study of change, emphasizing learning, self-organization, and adaptive capacity. More work is needed on how societies and institutions develop ecological knowledge to deal with environmental change and, in turn, how they can act to shape change. Emphasis on adaptive change and resilience is useful to deal with the dynamics of institutional change in relation to the dynamics of ecosystems and the goods and services they provide. Ecosystems generate natural resources and services (e.g., clean air and water) at multiple scales. But jurisdictional boundaries rarely coincide with ecosystem boundaries. Needed are cross-scale institutions that are in tune with the scales at which ecosystems function. The fact that there is often a mismatch in scale between institutions and ecosystems is considered part of the reason for resource mismanagement (Folke et al., 1998). Thus, a major task is to design cross-scale institutional linkages in a way that facilitates self-organization in cycles of change, enhances learning, and increases adaptive capacity. Cases in the book, Linking Social and Ecological Systems, show that local-level institutions learn and develop the capability to respond to environmental feedbacks faster than do centralized agencies (Berkes and Folke, 1998). Thus, if management is too centralized, valuable information from the resource, in the form of feedbacks, may be delayed or lost because of the mismatch in scale. However, if management is too decentralized, then the feedback between the user groups of different resources, or between adjacent areas, may be lost. One way to tighten the feedback loops is to assign property rights to resources, thus creating incentives for sustainable resource use. The assigning of property rights may be a necessary condition but perhaps not a sufficient condition for sustainability. Resource management systems cannot readily be scaled up or scaled down. As Young (1995) put it, “macro-scale systems are not merely small-scale systems writ large. Nor are micro-scale systems mere microcosms of large-scale systems.” Because of the interactions between scales (e.g., the island nations fishery ex-
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The Drama of the Commons ample), the appropriate level at which a commons issue should be addressed is never very clear. Instead of looking for the one “correct” scale for analytical purposes, it may be useful to start with the assumption that a given resource management system is multiscale, and that it should be managed at different scales simultaneously. Such approaches are important in dealing with larger scale commons issues as well. In the area of global change, for example, researchers have started to address the question of match between multiscale institutions and ecosystems (Folke et al., 1998). These studies open up new areas of commons investigations by suggesting that the persistence of resource and environmental degradation may in part be related to cross-scale institutional pathologies, mismatches in scale, and lack of attention to cross-scale linkages. REFERENCES Adger, W.N. 2000 Social and ecological resilience: Are they related? Progress in Human Geography 24:347-364. Ahmed, M., A.D. Capistrano, and M. Hossain 1997 Experience of partnership models for the co-management of Bangladesh fisheries. Fisheries Management and Ecology 4:233-248. Auer, M. 2000 Who participates in global environmental governance? Partial answers from international relations theory. Policy Sciences 33:155-180. Baines, G.B.K. 1989 Traditional resource management in the Melanesian South Pacific: A development dilemma. Pp. 273-295 in Common Property Resources, F. Berkes, ed. London: Belhaven. Berkes, F. 1989a Cooperation from the perspective of human ecology. Pp. 70-88 in Common Property Resources, F. Berkes, ed. London: Belhaven. 1989b Co-management and the James Bay Agreement. Pp. 189-208 in Co-operative Management of Local Fisheries, E. Pinkerton, ed. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press . 1999 Sacred Ecology: Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Resource Management. Philadelphia and London: Taylor & Francis. Berkes, F., and C. Folke, eds. 1998 Linking Social and Ecological Systems. Management Practices and Social Mechanisms for Building Resilience. Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press. Berkes, F., P.J. George, and R.J. Preston 1991 Co-management. Alternatives 18(2):12-18. Berkes, F., R. Mahon, P. McConney, R.C. Pollnac, and R.S. Pomeroy 2001 Managing Small-Scale Fisheries: Alternative Directions and Methods. Ottawa: International Development Research Centre. Blumenthal, D., and J.L. Jannink 2000 A Classification of Collaborative Management Methods. Conservation Ecology 4(2):13. Available: http://www.consecol.org/vol4/iss2/art13. [Accessed October 2001]. Chambers, R. 1994 The origins and practice of participatory rural appraisal. World Development 22:953-969.
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Representative terms from entire chapter: