Next Article in Journal
Preliminary Characterization of Underground Hydrological Processes under Multiple Rainfall Conditions and Rocky Desertification Degrees in Karst Regions of Southwest China
Previous Article in Journal
Nutrient Recovery from Anaerobically Treated Blackwater and Improving Its Effluent Quality through Microalgae Biomass Production
Open AccessArticle

Understanding Complexity in Freshwater Management: Practitioners’ Perspectives in The Netherlands

1
Stockholm Environment Institute, Department of Environment and Geography, University of York, Wentworth Way, York YO10 5NG, UK
2
Department of Soil and Environment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 7014, 750 07 Uppsala, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(2), 593; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12020593
Received: 29 January 2020 / Revised: 15 February 2020 / Accepted: 17 February 2020 / Published: 21 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Water Resources Management, Policy and Governance)
Ecosystems have been stabilized by human interventions to optimize delivery of certain ecosystem services, while at the same time awareness has grown that these systems are inherently dynamic rather than steady state. Applied research fields have emerged that try to increase adaptive capacity in these ecosystems, using concepts deriving from the theory of complex adaptive systems. How are these concepts of complexity interpreted and applied by practitioners? This study applies a mixed-methods approach to analyze the case of freshwater management in The Netherlands, where a management paradigm promoting nature-fixating interventions is recently being replaced with a new paradigm of nature-based solutions. We find that practitioners have widely varying interpretations of concepts and of how the ecosystems they work in have evolved over time when described with complex system attributes. This study allows for the emergence of key complexity-related considerations among practitioners that are not often discussed in literature: (i) the need for physical and institutional space for self-organization of nature; (ii) the importance of dependency and demand management; and (iii) trade-offs between robustness and flexibility. This study, furthermore, stresses the importance of using practitioners’ views to guide applied research and practice in this field. View Full-Text
Keywords: ecosystem management; complex adaptive systems; nature-based solutions; engineering; adaptive management ecosystem management; complex adaptive systems; nature-based solutions; engineering; adaptive management
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Rutten, G.; Cinderby, S.; Barron, J. Understanding Complexity in Freshwater Management: Practitioners’ Perspectives in The Netherlands. Water 2020, 12, 593.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Search more from Scilit
 
Search
Back to TopTop