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Capturing the Complexity of a Common in the Middle of an Amazonian Urban Area: Integrating Theoretical Approaches and Methodologies

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Silva-Forsberg, Maria Clara; Brondizio, Eduardo
Conference: Capturing the Complexity of the Commons, North American Regional Meeting of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Conf. Date: Sep. 30-Oct. 2
Date: 2010
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/6563
Sector: Forestry
Urban Commons
Region: South America
Subject(s): complexity
urban commons
Amazon River region
Abstract: "Studies showing the overuse of resources in Common-pool Resources--CPR--along the World are crescent in the literature. Some studies have also shown successful institutional arrangement to govern them. The complexities encompassing CPRs are not trivial and the efforts to understand them are crucial. In this paper we seek to understand the CPR situations of a Native Forest Reserve in the middle of a highly populated urban area in the Amazon. This study combines and examines three sets of factors and assesses their usefulness in explaining causes of degradation in restricted-use reserves: edge effects, population pressure, and institutional failure. Given the multi-level complexity of restricted use reserves, each set of factors is assessed spatially and temporally. First, they are analyzed spatially, taking in consideration local and regional scales. Second, their historical development is followed. Third, we evaluate the relationship between these factors and the structural attributes of the forest using indicators such as species richness, biomass, and land-cover changes, over time. Our results show that the biophysical characteristics of the forest are shaped by both local and regional level processes and cannot be explained by any set of factors alone. To conclude we offer some methodological insights on the integration of different approaches to assess this and other complex CPR situations."

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