The Struggle to Govern the Commons

  title={The Struggle to Govern the Commons},
  author={Thomas Dietz and E. Ostrom and Paul C. Stern},
  pages={1907 - 1912}
Human institutions—ways of organizing activities—affect the resilience of the environment. Locally evolved institutional arrangements governed by stable communities and buffered from outside forces have sustained resources successfully for centuries, although they often fail when rapid change occurs. Ideal conditions for governance are increasingly rare. Critical problems, such as transboundary pollution, tropical deforestation, and climate change, are at larger scales and involve nonlocal… 
Adapting Governance for Change
Over time, communities develop institutions and processes for making decisions, setting policies, or sharing power that work for their particular circumstances. When social, economic, technological,
Climate Change, Environmental Governance and the Scale Problem
As the world faces critical challenges in resource and energy sustainability, the importance of transforming the way governance institutions work across scales is increasingly recognized by policy
Conflict and Cooperation: Tools for Governing Tropical Forests Yale ISTF Conference, March 2009
Competing claims for tropical forest rights, combined with inadequate institutional ability to mediate interests among stakeholders, have often led to economic inequity, conflicts, and accelerated forest destruction.
Adapting and Transforming: Governance for Navigating Change
To navigate social-ecological change, individuals and societies must develop the capacity to adapt and transform our interactions with ecosystems and ecosystem services. Institutions and multi-level
Radical changes are needed for transformations to a good Anthropocene
The scale, pace, and intensity of human activity on the planet demands radical departures from the status quo to remain within planetary boundaries and achieve sustainability. The steering arms of
Governing complexity: Integrating science, governance, and law to manage accelerating change in the globalized commons
This work explores how governments may facilitate the emergence of adaptive governance and promote legitimacy in both the process of governance despite the involvement of nonstate actors, and its adherence to democratic values of equity and justice.
Building adaptive capacity in a coastal region experiencing global change
Coastal ecosystems in the eastern U.S. have been severely altered by human development, and climate change and other stressors are now further degrading the capacity of those ecological and social
Institutional Resilience Amid Political Change: The Case of Biodiversity Conservation
  • P. Steinberg
  • Environmental Science
    Global Environmental Politics
  • 2009
There is a substantial literature documenting the spatial mismatch between the geographic location of biological resources and the spatial jurisdiction of the institutions responsible for their


Revisiting the commons: local lessons, global challenges.
New insights about the management of large-scale resources that depend on international cooperation and the conditions most likely to favor sustainable uses of common-pool resources are discussed.
The Institutional Dimensions of Environmental Change: Fit, Interplay, and Scale
Researchers studying the role institutions play in causing and confronting environmental change use a variety of concepts and methods that make it difficult to compare their findings. Seeking to
Triumph of the Commons: Age-Old Participatory Practices Provide Lessons for Institutional Reform in the Rural Sector
There is ample evidence of poor management of ecosystems with conventional prescriptions of resource management in many cases not resulting in sustainability. In fact, some of the resource crashes of
Perspective: Research on the Commons: Lessons for Environmental Resource Managers
In his famous essay on “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Hardin (1968) derived predictions of environmental disaster from the proposition that people are entirely selfish by nature. The article has had
HUMAN ECOLOGY AND RESOURCE SUSTAINABILITY: The Importance of Institutional Diversity
The design principles that characterize long-surviving, delicately balanced resource systems governed by local rules systems are presented, as is a synthesis of the research on factors affecting institutional change.
Social Capital and the Collective Management of Resources
The term social capital captures the idea that social bonds and norms are critical for sustainability, where social capital is high in formalized groups, people have the confidence to invest in collective activities, knowing that others will do so too.
Polycentric governance and development : readings from the workshop in political theory and policy analysis
How do local communities collectively manage those resources that are most important to their own survival or prosperity? Wherever they are located, all communities face similar dilemmas of
The Failure Of The Centralized State: Institutions And Self-governance In Africa
After nearly three decades of post-colonial independence in Africa, the shortcomings of the centralist strategy of nation building and economic development have become evident. Development has
The commons in the new millennium : challenges and adaptation
Globalization, population growth, and resource depletion are drawing increased attention to the importance of common resources such as forests, water resources, and fisheries. It is critical that
Rights to nature : ecological, economic, cultural, and political principles of institutions for the environment
Property rights are a tool humans use in regulating their use of natural resources. Understanding how rights to resources are assigned and how they are controlled is critical to designing and