Ecology and Society Ecology and Society
E&S Home > Vol. 23, Iss. 1 > Art. 16 > Abstract Open Access Publishing 
Polycentric governance in telecoupled resource systems

Christoph Oberlack, Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Switzerland; Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern, Switzerland
Sébastien Boillat, Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Switzerland
Stefan Brönnimann, Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Switzerland; Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Switzerland
Jean-David Gerber, Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Switzerland; Centre for Regional Economic Development (CRED), University of Bern, Switzerland
Andreas Heinimann, Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern, Switzerland; Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Switzerland
Chinwe Ifejika Speranza, Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Switzerland
Peter Messerli, Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern, Switzerland; Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Switzerland
Stephan Rist, Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Switzerland; Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern, Switzerland
Urs Wiesmann, Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Switzerland; Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern, Switzerland

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-09902-230116

Full Text: HTML   
Download Citation


Abstract

Recent advances in land system science and in institutional analysis provide complementary, but still largely disconnected perspectives on land use change, governance, and sustainability in social-ecological systems, which are interconnected across distance. In this paper we bring together the emerging concept of telecoupled land systems and the established concept of polycentric governance to support the analysis and the development of sustainable land governance in interconnected social-ecological systems. We operationalize the two concepts by analyzing networks of action situations in which interactions between proximate and distant actors as well as socioeconomic and ecological processes cause land use change and affect the sustainability of land systems. To illustrate this integrated approach empirically, we analyze a case of transnational biofuel investment in Sierra Leone. We identify the characteristics of, and activities in, networks of action situations that affect the sustainability of land systems related to this case. Integration of the two concepts of telecoupled land systems and polycentric governance enables analysts to identify interactions in polycentric governance systems (1) as drivers of telecoupled sustainability problems and (2) as transformative approaches to such problems. The method provides one way for linking place-based analysis of land change with process-based analysis of land governance.

Key words

institutional analysis; land system science; natural resources; networks of action situations; polycentric governance; telecoupling

Copyright © 2018 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Top
Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087