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Insights from the Field for Measuring and Analyzing Adaptation in Common-Pool Resource Management

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Murtinho, Felipe; Hayes, Tanya M.
Conference: Governing Shared Resources: Connecting Local Experience to Global Challenges, the Twelfth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Commons
Location: Cheltenham, England
Conf. Date: July 14-18, 2008
Date: 2008
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/461
Sector: Social Organization
General & Multiple Resources
Subject(s): social-ecological systems
institutional change
field work
Abstract: "This paper will analyze how adaptation has been defined and measured in fieldwork studies of common-pool resource systems. Changing climate, land uses, demographics and markets all highlight how resource managers need to be capable of responding to and appropriately addressing change. In recent years, a growing body of literature on social-ecological systems has assessed adaptation and identified factors that determine a community's adaptive capacity. This is an exciting discussion, particularly given the dynamic conditions in many commons. Nonetheless, in order to fully understand how adaptation can be applied to commonpool resource management, it is imperative that we step back and examine how we identify and assess adaptation in the field. "This paper is an initial intent to examine how scholarly discussions of adaptation in social-ecological systems have been defined, applied, and measured in field studies of common-pool resource management. Our analysis is based upon a literature review of fieldwork studies conducted by geographers, anthropologists, political scientists and others that specifically look at community adaptation processes and outcomes in local common-pool resource systems. In the analysis we compare similarities and differences in how adaptation is defined and measured and discuss the empirical foundations for understanding adaptation. We hope that the findings will point to successful techniques for conducting empirical studies of adaptation, as well as suggest areas where our empirical understanding of adaptation and adaptive capacity might be improved."

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