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Evaluating Functional Fit between a Set of Institutions and an Ecosystem

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Ekstrom, Julia A.; Young, Oran R.
Journal: Ecology and Society
Volume: 14
Date: 2009
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/5404
Sector: General & Multiple Resources
Subject(s): institutions
governance and politics
marine resources--policy
social-ecological systems
Abstract: "This paper presents a quantitative analytical method for measuring functional fit between a specific ecosystem and a defined set of institutions. Functional misfits, the focus of this paper, can arise as a result of gaps in governance—a lack of institutional provision for a socioecological system component or link. The method measures such misfit using a similarity metric (simple matching). This provides an indication of the potential degree of system-wide fit between an ecosystem and a relevant set of institutions. A preliminary form of the approach uses the text of ocean and coastal laws and regulations to represent formal institutional arrangements. This basic demonstration helps show the complex interrelationships that have to be taken into account in a systematic evaluation of fit. Beyond the first iteration, work continues on developing the analytical capacity of the framework and, therefore, its utility to assist, for example, in policy transitions, including those to ecosystem-based management."

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