Fig. 4. Examples of how hierarchies may be aligned or misaligned in a natural resource management situation. Ecological processes (green boxes) are managed by people (blue boxes). Overlapping boxes indicate interactions between units, and the labels A, B, and C denote matching levels between hierarchies. (a) In an ideal situation, ecological processes will be managed by people who have the mandate and the power to act at the same scale as the process. (b) Scale mismatches may result in upper-level managers who have nothing to do but micromanage their juniors, while lower-level managers are confronted with ecological problems that they lack the resources to deal with (C-B mismatch). (c) Another kind of mismatch results in a lack of management at some key scales (unmanaged B) and the involvement of higher-level managers in lower-level resource management (B-C mismatch), leaving junior managers with little power to effect change (dangling C). (d) In a global or international context, a common scale mismatch occurs when no institution exists to deal with the broad-scale environmental problem (unmanaged A). Note that in many examples, scale mismatches are not necessarily system-wide.