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The Land–Water–Food Nexus: Expanding the Social–Ecological System Framework to Link Land and Water Governance

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Klümper, Frederike; Theesfeld, Insa
Conference: Workshop on the Ostrom Workshop 6
Location: Indiana University, Bloomington
Conf. Date: June 19-21, 2019
Date: 2019
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/10480
Sector: General & Multiple Resources
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): social-ecological systems
Abstract: "Besides looking at land and water nexus from the ecological, hydrological or agronomic angle, not much attention has been paid on the governance interface between the two agricultural input resources. Likewise, in widely used heuristic frameworks, such as the social–ecological system (SES) framework, governance interactions between resources are not sufficiently addressed. We address this gap empirically, using the case of Tajikistan, based on a farm household survey analysis of 306 farmers. The results indicate that land system variables contribute to the willingness to cooperate in irrigation management. Specifically, formal land tenure has a positive effect on farmers paying for water as well as on the likelihood of their investing time and effort in irrigation infrastructure, which is decisive for Tajikistan’s food and fiber production. Irrigation system variables show that, e.g., being an upstream user increases the likelihood to contribute to labor maintenance efforts. We further discuss how decisions with respect to the land sector could be designed in the future to facilitate cooperation in other resource sectors. From a conceptual perspective, we suggest that the SES framework can be expanded in two ways in order to serve an integrated analysis of changes in the governance of two natural resources, here land and water. Either (1) by adding a second-tier 'governance nexus' variable inside the governance variable of an irrigation system; or (2) by adding a land resource unit and system outside the irrigation system. Trade-offs of both options will be discussed."

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