New book: institutions and environmental change

Centre contribution on policy implications of environmental change

United Nations Security Council, UN Headquarters, New York. Photo: R. Kautsky/Azote
Stockholm Resilience Centre researchers Victor Galaz, Per Olsson, Thomas Hahn, Carl Folke and Uno Svedin contribute with a chapter in a new book on the policy implications of global environmental change.

The book is published by MIT Press, a university press affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, USA.

Institutions must acknowledge social-ecological interconnections
In a chapter entitled “The Problem of Fit among Biophysical Systems, Environmental and Resource Regimes, and Broader Governance Systems" the five researchers argue that the attributes of institutions (rights, norms, rules and decision-making procedures) must be transformed to better match the dynamics of the planet's biophysical systems.

- Institutions and policy prescriptions must acknowledge the strong interconnection between social and ecological systems, they write. - If not, we all run the risk of ending up with ill-founded advice that fail to tackle such emerging global problems as the loss of biological diversity, the degradation of forests and the overarching issue of climate change.

The chapter is a transdisciplinary update of a seminal article on “the problem of fit" between ecosystems and institutions, written ten years ago by Carl Folke, Lowell Pritchard Jr., Fikret Berkes, Johan Colding, and Uno Svedin.
- We look at the mis-match between the planet´s biophysical systems and our institutions through a “resilience lens", concentrating on the capacity of institutions and broader governance mechanisms to deal with environmental change as linked to societal dynamics and to reorganize after unforeseen impacts, the five Centre researchers write.
Theoretical overview backed up with strong empirical evidence
The book is edited by a group of US and UK researchers: Oran R. Young, Heike Schroeder and Leslie A. King. It is the result of a research project called Institutional Dimensions of Global Environmental Change (IDGEC), a long-term international research project developed during the 1990s under the auspices of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP).
- This book is exciting, important, and at the forefront of research. The editors provide an excellent theoretical overview backed up with strong empirical evidence. It is a wonderful achievement, says leading political scientist Elinor Ostrom about the book.
The book is addressed to both researchers and environmental practitioners as well as policy-makers and students in fields across the political and environmental spectrum.

Stockholm Resilience Centre is a collaboration between Stockholm University and the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

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