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Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1232; doi:10.3390/su9071232

Environmental Governance for the Anthropocene? Social-Ecological Systems, Resilience, and Collaborative Learning

Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, R3T 2N2 MB
Received: 13 June 2017 / Revised: 10 July 2017 / Accepted: 11 July 2017 / Published: 13 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Governance for Sustainability)
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Abstract

The Anthropocene is characterized by rapid global change, necessitating adaptive governance. But how can such adaptive governance be operationalized? The article offers a three-point argument to approach this question. First, people and environment need to be considered together, as social (human) and ecological (biophysical) subsystems are linked by mutual feedbacks, and are interdependent and co-evolutionary. These integrated systems of humans and environment (social-ecological systems) provide an appropriate unit of analysis. Second, the resilience approach deals with change in multilevel complex systems, and has stimulated much of the adaptive governance literature by addressing uncertainty and adaptation to unforeseen future changes. Third, there is a need to foster collaborative approaches to improve social and institutional learning, as for example in adaptive management, collaborative learning networks, and knowledge co-production. Collaborative learning is perhaps where further research, experimentation, and application might make a difference for operationalizing adaptive governance, with a focus on institutions, at all levels from local to international. View Full-Text
Keywords: social-ecological systems; complex adaptive systems; scale; self-organization; commons; resilience; adaptive management; networks; knowledge co-production social-ecological systems; complex adaptive systems; scale; self-organization; commons; resilience; adaptive management; networks; knowledge co-production
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Berkes, F. Environmental Governance for the Anthropocene? Social-Ecological Systems, Resilience, and Collaborative Learning. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1232.

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