Adapting and Transforming: Governance for Navigating Change

  • Derek Armitage
  • Ryan Plummer
Part of the Springer Series on Environmental Management book series (SSEM)


To navigate social-ecological change, individuals and societies must develop the capacity to adapt and transform our interactions with ecosystems and ecosystem services. Institutions and multi-level governance arrangements are particularly important in this regard as they can support as well as constrain knowledge building, learning and conflict resolution that may help to reduce vulnerability, build resilience and increase adaptive capacity. However, building adaptive capacity into governance is a daunting challenge. Here, we synthesize the insights of this volume and offer lessons for practice and further research. These lessons include the need to: (1) define and understand social-ecological change; (2) avoid panaceas; (3) recognize relational spaces and the role of institutions; (4) consider the influence of scale; (5) link actors and networks of actors; (6) rethink the role of government; (7) benefit from bridging organizations; (8) promote knowledge co-production and learning processes; (9) highlight the role of ecosystems; and (10) ensure integrative approaches.


Ecosystem Service Adaptive Capacity Great Barrier Reef Environmental Governance Relational Space 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Alan Diduck, Carina Keskitalo, and Lisen Schultz for their valuable comments and feedback on an earlier version of this chapter. We thank as well the contributors to the volume for the insights and perspectives they have brought to the challenge of adaptive capacity and governance.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography and Environmental StudiesWilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada
  2. 2.Department of Tourism and EnvironmentBrock UniversitySt. CatharinesCanada
  3. 3.Stockholm Resilience CentreStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

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