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The Problem of Fit between Ecosystems and Institutions: Ten Years Later

Carl Folke, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences; Stockholm Resilience Center, Stockholm University
Lowell Pritchard, Jr., Evangelical Environmental Network
Fikret Berkes, University of Manitoba
Johan Colding, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences; Stockholm Resilience Center, Stockholm University
Uno Svedin, Swedish Research Council for the Environment


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The problem of fit is about the interplay between the human and ecosystem dimensions in social-ecological systems that are not just linked but truly integrated. This interplay takes place across temporal and spatial scales and institutional and organizational levels in systems that are increasingly being interpreted as complex adaptive systems. In 1997, we were invited to produce one of three background papers related to a, at that time, new initiative called Institutional Dimensions of Global Environmental Change (IDEG), a research activity of the International Human Dimensions Program of Global Environmental Change (IHDP). The paper, which exists as a discussion paper of the IHDP, has generated considerable interest. Here we publish the original paper 10 years later with an extended introduction and with reflections on some of the issues raised in the original paper concerning problems of fit.

Copyright © 2007 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087