Ecology and Society Ecology and Society
E&S Home > Vol. 14, Iss. 1 > Art. 26 > Abstract Open Access Publishing 
Adaptive Water Governance: Assessing the Institutional Prescriptions of Adaptive (Co-)Management from a Governance Perspective and Defining a Research Agenda

Dave Huitema, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam - Institute for Environmental Studies
Erik Mostert, Delft University of Technology - Centre for River Basin Administration
Wouter Egas, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam - Institute for Environmental Studies
Sabine Moellenkamp, University of Osnabrück - Institute for Environmental Systems Research
Claudia Pahl-Wostl, University of Osnabrück - Institute for Environmental Systems Research
Resul Yalcin, University of Bonn - Center for Development Research


Full Text: HTML   
Download Citation


This article assesses the institutional prescriptions of adaptive (co-)management based on a literature review of the (water) governance literature. The adaptive (co-)management literature contains four institutional prescriptions: collaboration in a polycentric governance system, public participation, an experimental approach to resource management, and management at the bioregional scale. These prescriptions largely resonate with the theoretical and empirical insights embedded in the (water) governance literature. However, this literature also predicts various problems. In particular, attention is called to the complexities associated with participation and collaboration, the difficulty of experimenting in a real-world setting, and the politicized nature of discussion on governance at the bioregional scale. We conclude this article by outlining a common research agenda that invites the collaborative efforts of adaptive (co-)management and governance scholars.

Key words

adaptive governance; bioregional perspective; experimentation; polycentric governance; public participation; water management

Copyright © 2009 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