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Disturbances and Resilience in Common-Pool Resource Management Systems

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Ternström, Ingela
Conference: The Commons in an Age of Global Transition: Challenges, Risks and Opportunities, the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Oaxaca, Mexico
Conf. Date: August 9-13
Date: 2004
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1761
Sector: Theory
Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources--theory
institutional change
decision making
farmer-managed irrigation
Abstract: "In this paper, I take the analysis of common-pool resource management one step further by looking closely at how the users adapt to different types of disturbances. The analysis provides insights for how to analyze and promote resilience in common-pool resource systems. The main conclusion is that we need to start using a new tool-box if we are to further improve our understanding. I analyze historical data from ten farmer managed irrigation systems in Nepal. By tracing the processes triggered by the most common types of disturbances, I am able to pinpoint the actions that are taken by the users to counter the negative effects of these disturbances. I find that the reactions can be grouped into decision- making, reconstructions activities, rule changes, conflict management and change of leadership or institutions. I also find that many of these activities are undertaken by a few key individuals, the leaders. Furthermore, the main threats to the sustainability of these irrigation systems are disturbances that change the composition of individual users and those that directly affect the institutional structure. This strongly suggests that we start using the tool-box provided by various organizational theories."

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