New centre book on adapting institutions

Provides cutting-edge insights into resilience and adaptive governance

How can we increase public engagement in ecosystem management through urban commons? That is one of the aspects discussed in a new book on adapting institutions. Photo: Vision of the Albano Resilient Campus, a vision for urban planning based on resilience principles.
A new book edited by centre director Carl Folke and Emily Boyd — affiliated both with the Centre and Leeds University — seeks to bridge existing gaps between resilience, sustainability and social science.

The book, entitled Adapting Institutions: Governance, Complexity and Social-Ecological Resilience, features a number of international experts providing cutting-edge insights into building the resilience and adaptive governance of complex social-ecological systems.

"One of the most important lessons to be learned from this book is that contemporary scholars should not reject the analysis of complex systems on the incorrect notion that good science is a method of simplifying systems, and thus efforts to represent complexity analytically are not scientific," writes Nobel Laureate and centre board member Elinor Ostrom in the foreword of the new book.

Understanding the resilience of systems
Centre researchers Örjan Bodin, Beatrice Crona, Andreas Duit, Victor Galaz, Maria Tengö, Jacob von Heland and Johan Colding (part Beijer Institute) all contribute with chapters. They all provide a variety of case studies on the social science dimension of ecosystem management in the context of global change.

Global environmental change is occurring at a rate faster than humans have ever experienced. Climate change and the loss of ecosystem services are the two main global environmental crises facing us today. As a result, there is a need for better understanding of both specific and general resilience of networked ecosystems, cities, organisations and institutions to cope with change.

In her foreword to the book Elinor Ostrom describes this as one of the fundamental questions of our time.

"We must recognize that all social-ecological systems face new challenges over time, and understand why some are adaptive and survive substantial threats of different origins, and others do not continue to generate positive outcomes and therefore collapse," writes Elinor Ostrom.

The book is divided into three parts: Adapting local institutions, networks, leadership and learning; Adapting and governing public institutions for uncertainty and complexity; Adapting multi-level institutions to environmental crises. Using empirical examples ranging from local to global levels, views from a variety of disciplines are integrated to provide an essential resource for scholars, policy-makers and students, seeking innovative approaches to governance.

Book reference
Folke Carl and Boyd Emily (eds.). 2011. Adapting Institutions: Governance, Complexity and Social-Ecological Resilience. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. 290 pp.

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Folke Carl and Boyd Emily (eds.). 2011. Adapting Institutions: Governance, Complexity and Social-Ecological Resilience. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. 290 pp.


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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