The predictive value of resource defence theory in understanding resource user responses to climatic variability: implications for the viability of institutions in a resource dependent context

Addison, Jane (2016) The predictive value of resource defence theory in understanding resource user responses to climatic variability: implications for the viability of institutions in a resource dependent context. Human Ecology, 44 (2). pp. 137-152.

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Abstract

The ability of governance to achieve sustained environmental aims is a function of the scaling 'fit' between natural resources and the social domain. Resource defence theory postulates that resource availability and predictability are important attributes affecting territoriality and the evolution and viability of institutions governing access to a given natural resource. In contexts where livelihoods are resource dependent, it therefore provides a framework through which fit can be evaluated. Here, case studies from pastoral areas of the Gobi Desert are used to show that, in certain contexts, the strength and scale of socially embedded institutions can be a significant and predictable dependent variable of both resource variability and predictability. Poor compliance with bureaucratic institutions governing access to the resource is thus a function of the mismatch in strength and scale between socially embedded and bureaucratic institutions. The applicability of common property theory to resource management in contexts that are so dynamic as to defy the delineation of spatial or temporal boundaries is questionable. Viewing institutional formation through a resource defence theory lens may be more useful to institution crafters seeking to minimise problems of fit, and may reveal the temporal and spatial scale at which institutions should be developed. In such contexts, resource defence theory may be usefully employed to predict and resolve many problems of institutional fit and to avoid the inappropriate application of institutional panaceas.

Item ID: 45489
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1572-9915
Keywords: Mongolia, China, dryland, common property resource, pastoralists, resource defence theory
Funders: Ninti One, Australian Rangeland Society, Royal Geographical Society of South Australia, Australian Department of Education and Training, CSIRO
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2016 07:35
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 1%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1604 Human Geography > 160403 Social and Cultural Geography @ 99%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9699 Other Environment > 969999 Environment not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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