Human Ecology

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 573–592 | Cite as

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

  • Thomas HahnEmail author
  • Per Olsson
  • Carl Folke
  • Kristin Johansson


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. 



We thank three anonymous reviewers for valuable and helpful comments. Our research was financed by Formas, The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning.


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Personal communication

  1. HC, Coordinator of the nature conservation section of KV. Employed by Kristianstad Municipality (50%) and the County Administration Board (50%). Hans.Cronert@kristianstad.seGoogle Scholar
  2. KM, Information secretary at the Man and Biosphere (MAB) Candidate Office. Karin.Magntorn@kristianstad.seGoogle Scholar
  3. SEM, Director of EKV since the beginning 1989. Sven-Erik.Magnusson@kristianstad.seGoogle Scholar
  4. Landowners A, B, and CGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Hahn
    • 1
    Email author
  • Per Olsson
    • 2
  • Carl Folke
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kristin Johansson
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Transdisciplinary Environmental Research (CTM)Stockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Department of Systems EcologyStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

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