Cross-scale Governance of Environmental Dilemmas – Part 1

I have been fortunate enough to be active in three separate endeavors to better understand the governance of natural resources across multiple scales and their interactions.  The project furthest along is the SES-MAD group (Social-Ecological Systems Meta-Analysis Database).  This project started as an idea with Michael Cox (the lead and database developer) to write a paper that would scale up the main principles of common-pool resource management.  It would take concepts developed in the study of small-scale projects and see if the same variables necessary for sustainability at the local level were still appropriate at larger spatial scales.  So much for a paper.  The project team now has 14 members and has been working over the past 18 months to develop a database, train team members, and begin the coding of cases across a number of resource areas (protected areas, fisheries, forests, international rivers, and pollution).  The training, reliability checks, and database building efforts are complete, and we are actively researching cases to populate our study.

We have recently submitted a grant proposal and are working on a special feature for publication in the August issue of International Journal of the Commons.  We plan to add members to our research team in the coming year.  Please let me know if you’re interested.  We plan to work on this project for the foreseeable future.  

Over the next couple months, I’ll share some of the key findings already emerging from the early stages of the project.  I’ll also share some of the interesting findings on a few of the cases that I’ve been working on personally – notably the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.  Stay tuned…

2 responses to this post.

  1. I have recently come across the SESMAD Project and would like to find out more about its status and progress. I am currently a computational research scientist at SESYNC ( with a particular interest in coupling generalized simulation models with meta-analyses, and I think there could be some promising synergies between the SESMAD Project’s scaling-up vision, SESYNC’s overall mission, and my own research. I would appreciate it if you could point me to the latest info about the project. Thanks!


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