Adaptive Governance, Ecosystem Management, and Natural Capital
It is suggested that landscapes and seascapes are best understood as complex social-ecological systems, and as such adaptive governance is the most suitable approach for ecosystem management. This publication examines three different adaptive governance initiatives and compares them with other efforts aimed at conservation and sustainable use. The adaptive governance initiatives are a landscape in Sotuerhn Sweden, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and fisheries in the Southern Ocean. Changes in natural capital and ecosystem services are assessed for capacity for change and new challenges, and then are compared with other sustainable initiatives. These other initiatives include Natura 2000 in Europe, lobster fisheries in the Gulf of Maine in North America, and fisheries in Europe. It was found that the adaptive governance styles enable collaboration across multiple levels of decision making to address diverse interests, sectors, and institutional agreements. While visible wide spread effects and capacity to respond to change are abundant in the adaptive governance initiatives, internal changes and external pressures constantly challenge the long term success.