For much of human history, natural resource governance has centred on efforts to control nature in order to harvest products from it, while reducing risks to society.
This command-and-control sort of management has come under increasing scrutiny, paving the way for more adaptive management approaches with larger focus on learning and multilevel inclusion of stakeholders and their diverse sets of knowledge.
However, achieving this new form of resource governance is dependent on a fundamental understanding of important social processes at play between the different levels.
From government to governance
An increasing amount of research has started looking at how relationships among different actors and stakeholders facilitate and hinder societies in transforming the way they manage natural resources.
"Many attempts at sustainable resource governance have failed because of inadequate attention to the role social relationships play in shaping environmental outcomes", says centre researcher Beatrice Crona. She has vast experience in looking at how networks and social capital influence resource management and is the co-editor of a special Ecology and Society feature on social network analysis in natural resource governance.
Together with a range of experts on networks and resource management, Crona discusses ways to move from government to governance and from political administrative hierarchy to various types of collaborative structures.
"All the contributions to this special issue illustrate how studying social networks can help understand the two fundamental cornerstones of adaptive governance: collaboration and learning, as well as the institutions that structure and influence these processes", Crona says.
Read the special issue here
See whiteboard seminar with Beatrice Crona explaining social network analysis: