Slide 6

Report
Sustaining SocialEcological Systems:
An Ontological
Approach
Elinor Ostrom
Indiana University
Karl F. Schuessler Lecture
November 6, 2008
Sustaining Social-Ecological
Systems is a Struggle
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A central theme of this talk is SocialEcological Systems are complex.
Understanding SES’s is a challenge -BUT IT IS WORTH IT!
Without understanding, we can
recommend policies that may things
worse rather than better
Two tasks for today
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A brief overview of recent research that
draws on both ecological and social
sciences
A brief overview of a new framework that
may help us to integrate our research by
providing a common tiered language
Diversity is Important for
Sustainability
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Two types:
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Simple institutional solutions are frequently
recommended as universal panaceas
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Biological diversity – extensive scientific
findings – well accepted
Institutional diversity – importance not yet
accepted
Government ownership
Privatize land
Co-management
Imposing simple policy blueprints reduces
institutional diversity and ecological sustainability
Our research finds variations of all 3 succeed & fail
Lets review findings from our multi-country, multidisciplinary forestry research network using remote
sensing & field studies.
First to Maya Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala
Maya Biosphere Reserve
Multitemporal Color Composite (Dietz, Ostrom, Stern, 2003, Science SOM)
clouds
A
El MiradorRio Azul NP
Laguna del
Tigre Biotope
Laguna del
Tigre NP
Multiple
Use Zone
NaachtunDos Lagunas
Biotope
El Zotz
Biotope
Tikal NP
D
B
Buffer Zone
Sierra del
Lacandón NP
C
0
B
C
D
10
20 km
N
Maya Biosphere Reserve
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Four National Parks (NPs) in
close proximity
Tikal NP has large budget to pay
for extensive fences and guards
El Mirador protected by nature
Laguna del Tigre severely
overharvested
Sierra del Lacandón severely
overharvested
Same formal institution:
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Two are sustainable, but different
causal process
Two are vulnerable to massive
illegal harvesting
Now to Uganda
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An example of sustainable
Government Forest Reserves
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West Mengo region located in
earlier Buganda kingdom
In early 1900s, tough negotiations
to settle private land and set up
reserves in 1930s
Local forest users use NTFP and
participate every two decades in
boundary demarcation
Users value the forest and know
the boundaries
Very stable from 1936 to 2000
Recent decentralization is
disrupting this stability
Uganda Forest Reserves
Islands
0
2.5
5 km
N
Now to India
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Todoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve
An under-funded national wildlife
reserve with multiple outcomes
Stable forests in the core
Park guards are not able to
control harvesting along sections
of the borders
Complementary field studies find
 Consistent harvesting of nontimber forest products
 Existence of considerable
conflict between guards and
local people
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Nagendra & Ostrom, PNAS, 2006
Clearing
Regrowth
Stable
forest
Clearing
TADOBAANDHARI
TIGER
RESERVE
Regrowth
Interior villages
Multi-temporal Landsat color composite, 1972-19892001, landscape surrounding Tadoba-Andhari Tiger
Reserve, India.
Women harvesting thatch grass from within
the TATR - while the forest ranger
accompanying our research team looks on
helplessly.
Cattle entering the TATR boundary (marked
by the yellow topped pillar in the background)
on their daily foraging beat.
Bicycles and trucks confiscated from
timber poachers stealing large logs
Are Protected Areas the
“Only Way” to Sustain
Forests?
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While some Protected Parks are
successful in protecting forests,
others are not.
Depends on many factors
In a large cross-sectional IFRI
study of 163 forests in 12
countries, no difference in forest
density (scale assigned by
forester on team after doing
forest plots) is measured for
Protected Parks compared to all
other institutional arrangements
(Non-Parks)
Comparison of Forester’s Field
Evaluation of Vegetation Densities in
163 Parks and Non-Parks
Vegetation density
Officially
designated
parks
Very
sparse
Sparse
About
average
Somewh
at
abundant
Very
abundant
13%
21%
36%
26%
4%
6%
22%
43%
26%
3%
(N = 76)
Non-parks
(N = 87)
Kolmogorov-Smirnov Z score = 0.472, p = .979.
No significant difference.
Source: Hayes, Tanya, & Elinor Ostrom, “Conserving the World’s Forests: Are
Protected Areas the Only Way?” Indiana Law Review 38(3) (2005): 607.
Findings from Repeat
Visits to IFRI Forests
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2nd time research visit in 42 IFRI
forests
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India – 5 forests
Kenya – 3 forests
Nepal – 10 forests
Uganda – 18 forests
USA – 6 forests
Not a random sample of forests but
based on a random sample of plots
inside each forest and first study of
this type
Can now assess:
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Relative strength of formal institution on
changes in DBH, basal area, and stem
count
Strength of regular involvement of user
groups in monitoring forests on same
forest measures
Impact of Formally Designated Tenure and
Forest Monitoring on Changes in Forest
Condition: Assessment using ANOVA
Independent
variables
Change
in DBH
Change in
basal area
Change
in stem
count
Ownershipa
F = 0.89
F = 2.52
F = 1.00
F = 0.28
F = 10.55**
F = 4.66*
Involvement
of user
groups in
monitoring
rulesb
a Government,
community, private
b At
least one user group is involved in regular monitoring of
rules of forest use
* Significant at .05
** Significant at .01
Source: Ostrom, Elinor, & Harini Nagendra, “Insights on Linking Forests,
Trees, and People from the Air, on the Ground, and in the Laboratory.”
PNAS 103(51) (2006): 19230.
A Puzzle from Field
Research: Why Do Users
Monitor Others?
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Voluntary effort to produce a “public
good” of rule conformance
Game theoretic predictions – no one
will voluntarily contribute to provide a
public good
Earlier findings from field studies led
to a series of laboratory experiments
at IU and now replicated by others
Harvesting Common-Pool
Resources in the Lab
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Baseline experiment of complete
anonymity and finitely repeated game
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Game theoretical prediction is substantial
over-harvesting
Prediction supported in the lab
Adding the capacity to communicate –
does not change prediction – in a
social dilemma communication is only
CHEAP TALK
Subjects make good use of
opportunity for cheap talk – especially
when repeated
They use it to agree on joint
harvesting strategy & for verbal
sanctions of unknown over-harvesters
Aggregate Results of CPR Experiments
Experimental Designs using
25 Token Endowments
Average Net
Yield as % of
Maximuma
Average Net Yield Defection
Minus Fees &
Rate
Fines
(%)
(A) Baseline Experiment:
No Communication (3)
21
-
-
(B) One-shot
Communication (3)
55
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25
(C) Repeated
Communication (6)
73
-
13
(D) Imposed Sanctioning
Institution (8)
_
37
9
85
67
1
(F1) One-shot
Communication
Endogenous Choice of
Sanctioning Institution None Chosen (2)
56
-
42
(F2) One-shot
Communication
Endogenous Choice of
Sanctioning Institution –
Sanction Chosen (4)
93
90
4
(E) One-shot
Communication & Imposed
Sanctioning Institution (3)
aNash
equilibrium for all designs is a net yield of 39% of maximum (Adapted from: Ostrom,
Walker, and Gardner, 1992: p. 414)
What Have We Learned?
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No single idealized type of
governance structures is
successful in all ecological and
social settings
We should NOT eliminate
institutional diversity to save
biodiversity
Danger of Institutional
Monoculture
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Abstract concepts – government
ownership, co-management
Tend to impose uniform rules
 People living in or around forest
frequently not involved in design
 Few opportunities for
experimentation and learning
Rules-on-paper confused for rulesin-use – don’t really know what
rules are being used in field
Self Governance is Feasible
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Resources & human uses can be
monitored & the info verified &
understood at relatively low cost
(trees easier to monitor than fish)
WHEN
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Rates of change in key variables are
moderate
Communities do have thick networks of
social capital
Excluding outsiders is relatively low
costs
Users consider rules legitimate &
support monitoring and sanctioning
activities
The Challenges Ahead
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Need further investment in
understanding complex socialecological systems (SESs)
Developed a multi-tier, multidisciplinary ontology for analyzing
SES’s
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For a Special Feature of PNAS
September 2007
A core set of 4 variable clusters at
a focal level that together generate
interactions and outcomes
Affected by, and affect larger and
smaller ecosystems as well as
social, economic, and political
systems
Let’s look at the first tier
A Multitier Framework for Analyzing
Sustainable Social-Ecological
Systems
Social, Economic, and Political Settings (S)
Resource
System
(RS)
Governance
System
(GS)
Interactions (I) → Outcomes (O)
Resource Units
(RU)
Direct causal link
Users
(U)
Feedback
Related Ecosystems (ECO)
To Analyze Sustainable or
Unsustainable Interactions
and Outcomes
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Need to dig down one or two tiers for
several of main first tier variables
Lets dig down one level to an initial
listing of 2nd tier variables
But – when you see 50 + variables at
second level – do not panic!
Need to identify which second-tier
(and potentially 3rd or 4th tier)
variables are relevant to a particular
question being examined
All 2nd (3rd or 4th) tier variables are not
relevant for every theoretical or
empirical study
Social, Economic, and Political Settings (S)
S1- Economic development. S2- Demographic trends. S3- Political stability.
S4- Government settlement policies. S5- Market incentives. S6-Media
organization
Resource System (RS)
RS1fish)
RS2RS3RS4RS5RS6RS7RS8RS9-
Governance System (GS)
Sector (e.g., water, forests, pasture,
Clarity of system boundaries
Size of resource system
Human-constructed facilities
Productivity of system
Equilibrium properties
Predictability of system dynamics
Storage characteristics
Location
Resource Units (RU)
RU1RU2RU3RU4RU5RU6RU7-
GS1- Government organizations
GS2- Non-government organizations
GS3- Network structure
GS4- Property-rights systems
GS5- Operational rules
GS6- Collective-choice rules
GS7- Constitutional rules
GS8- Monitoring and sanctioning
processes
Users (U)
Resource unit mobility
Growth or replacement rate
Interaction among resource units
Economic value
Size
Distinctive markings
Spatial and temporal distribution
U1U2U3U4U5U6U7U8U9-
Number of users
Socioeconomic attributes of users
History of use
Location
Leadership/entrepreneurship
Norms/social capital
Knowledge of SES/mental models
Dependence on resource
Technology used
Interactions (I) - Outcomes (O)
I1I2I3I4I5I6-
Harvesting levels of diverse users
Information sharing among users
Deliberation processes
Conflicts among users
Investment activities
Lobbying activities
O1- Social performance measures
(e.g., efficiency, equity,
accountability)
O2- Ecological performance measures
(e.g., overharvested, resilience,
diversity)
O3- Externalities to other SESs
Related Ecosystems (ECO)
ECO1- Climate patterns. ECO2- Pollution patterns.
ECO3- Flows into and out of focal SES.
Building Theories Based on this
Framework to Address 3 Broad
Questions
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First question: What patterns of
interactions and outcomes -- overuse,
conflict, collapse, stability -- are likely
to result from using one set of rules for
the governance and use of a
particular resource system and its
units in a socioeconomic and political
environment?
In other words – which rules generate
sustainable outcomes for particular
types of resources?
Why were the rules related to forest
reserves in Uganda sustainable for
many decades and recent changes
now leading to deforestation
Hardin did not consider any rules in
his analysis
Social, Economic, and Political Settings (S)
S1 S2 S3- S4- S5- Market Incentives S6
Resource System (RS)
Governance System (GS)
GS1GS2GS3GS4GS5GS6GS7GS8-
RS1- Sector – pasture
RS2RS3- Finite size
RS4RS5- Renewable resource
RS6RS7RS8RS9-
Resource Units (RU)
Users (U)
RU1- Mobile animals on stationary grasses
RU2RU3RU4- Fattened cattle can be sold for cash
RU5RU6- Distinctive markings
RU7-
U1- Large number of users
U2U3U4U5U6U7- Maximization of short term gains for self
U8U9-
Interactions (I) → Outcomes (O)
I1- Maximum harvesting levels of diverse users
I2I3I4I5I6-
O1O2- Destruction of ecological system
O3-
Related Ecosystems (ECO)
ECO1- ECO2- ECO3-
Second Type of Question
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For a particular resource in a
particular setting, what is the likely
endogenous development of
different forms of governance, use
patterns, and outcomes with or
without external imposed rules or
financing?
In other words – do national
governments need to impose
institutions from the outside?
Or, are well tailored rules likely to
evolve from within in this type of
setting?
May need 3rd or 4th tier variables to
build theory to answer this type of
question
Third Type of Question
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How robust and sustainable is a
particular type of configuration of
users, resource system, resource
units, and governance system to
external and internal disturbances?
In other words – what kind of
disturbances are likely to lead
reduce the resilience of a particular
cluster of SES variables?
Population change? global
warming? changes in prices?
All 3 questions need theoretical
development and empirical testing
by multi-disciplinary research teams
We all need to work on the
challenge of developing this multitier framework and related theories
and the empirical work to test our
theoretical predictions
Questions that We Can Discuss
Now?

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