Adaptive environmental governance

How information enhances the capacity of local communities to govern their common pool resources

Local communities are becoming (increasingly) responsible for implementing sustainable use of ecosystems and landscapes. These communities face the challenge to reconcile individual and collective values, in situations characterized by uncertainty and ambiguity.

Collaborative processes, institutionalized relationships such as governance networks, and trust are conditional to develop a learning capacity for managing ecosystem and landscape services.

Information plays a key role in fostering learning processes and adaptive capacity, either directly because it shows how resources can be used, or indirectly by changing the structure of governance networks. For example, this may be information about benefits that ecosystem services may provide to different interest groups and about physical conditions in the landscape that are required to provide these benefits.

Such information may be delivered by scientist. Information can also be collected in governance networks themselves, for example on progress made in local environmental management.