Human Ecology

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 573-592

First online:

Trust-building, Knowledge Generation and Organizational Innovations: The Role of a Bridging Organization for Adaptive Comanagement of a Wetland Landscape around Kristianstad, Sweden

  • Thomas HahnAffiliated withCentre for Transdisciplinary Environmental Research (CTM), Stockholm University Email author 
  • , Per OlssonAffiliated withDepartment of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University
  • , Carl FolkeAffiliated withCentre for Transdisciplinary Environmental Research (CTM), Stockholm UniversityDepartment of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University
  • , Kristin JohanssonAffiliated withDepartment of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University

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The literature on ecosystem management and assessment is increasingly focusing on social capacity to enhance ecosystem resilience. Organizational flexibility, participatory approaches to learning, and knowledge generation for responding adequately to environmental change have been highlighted but not critically assessed. The small, flexible municipal organization, Ecomuseum Kristianstads Vattenrike (EKV) in southern Sweden, has identified win-win situations and gained broad support and legitimacy for ecosystem management among a diversity of actors in the region. Navigating the existing legal-political framework, EKV has built a loose social network of local stewards and key persons from organizations at municipal and higher societal levels. As a ‘bridging organization’, EKV has created arenas for trust-building, knowledge generation, collaborative learning, preference formation, and conflicts solving among actors in relation to specific environmental issues. Ad hoc projects are developed as issues arise by mobilizing individuals from the social network. Our results suggest that the EKV approach to adaptive comanagement has enhanced the social capacity to respond to unpredictable change and developed a trajectory towards resilience of a desirable social-ecological system.

Key words

Social-ecological systems resilience adaptive comanagement collaborative learning organizational innovation ecosystem management.