Governance and Adaptation: Water and Fisheries
Natural resource management typically entails decision-making in both public forums and by private entities. Many natural resources have common property characteristics, in that they are shared in whole or in part by multiple users. When such resources are scarce and valuable, unfettered access may result in overexploitation and dissipation of their value. Thus, some form of public regulation or voluntary cooperative regime is typically needed to prevent such degradation. A variety of natural resource governance arrangements have evolved in different socio-ecological settings to define use rights, decision-making procedures, enforcement mechanisms and methods for resolving disputes. Such institutional arrangements may be multi-tiered – with a hierarchy of public agencies and private entities having authority over some aspect of the use and management of a resource. There are often interconnections and spillover effects among individual resource use activities, as well as across the impacts of regulatory actions taken by different authorities or jurisdictions. In addition, policy development may involve a contentious process of balancing competing interests and values, in which uncertainty about natural and social processes can play a significant role. The extent to which governance arrangements facilitate coordination across multiple layers of decision making will determine the quality of resource management outcomes and the ability of these socio-ecological systems to adapt readily and effectively to climate variability and change.
Uncertainties surrounding the impacts of climate variability and future climate change create complications both for ongoing resource management, and for long-term adaptation planning. The science community can contribute to more effective and adaptive natural resource governance in two ways: 1) by improving the ability to forecast the behavior of the managed natural system and the implications of specific management decisions; and 2) by improving understanding of the functioning of the decision environment itself. In particular, research can help to clarify options for building more resilient natural resource governance regimes. Our research goals in this area include exploring and documenting the complexity of natural resource management decision environments, and the effects of alternative sets of governance arrangements on the capacity to respond effectively to climatic impacts on the resource system. In addition, we seek to understand how and why governance arrangements change over time, and how conscious policy choices could improve the adaptive capacity of natural resource governance regimes.
In FY 2011 CSAP research focused on analysis of governance and adaptive capacity for water resources, migratory species and marine fisheries. Each of these systems is characterized by large numbers of independent resource users, whose activities are regulated either well or poorly by a variety of public authorities. In addition, the need to cooperate across national boundaries is often a central part of the management problem.
FY2011 Accomplishments: Water Resources
In FY 2011, CSAP scientists Miller and Romero-Lankao collaborated on a comparative urban water system governance project and wrote a paper, entitled “Adaptiveness and the Dynamics of Urban Water Governance: Insights from Mexico City and Southern California” that they presented at Colorado Conference on Earth System Governance in May 2011. This paper uses a comparative analysis of urban water governance systems in Mexico City and Southern California to examine the historical dynamics of adaptive capacity in these two settings. The history of each setting traces a set of path-dependent processes in which decisions made at specific points in time have had multiple effects – both intentional and unintentional – that fundamentally altered the nature of subsequent stresses and decision options. Current social and environmental vulnerabilities to climatic disturbances are thus strongly colored by the historical trajectory of policy development and infrastructure investments. The paper describes the current stresses with which these urban water governance systems must cope, and explores their capacity to adapt to the new stresses that may result from the effects of global climate change.
Drs. Miller and Romero-Lankao also collaborated with Dr. Robert Wilby, a visiting scientist from Loughborough University, UK to begin work on developing a comprehensive theoretically-grounded framework for analyzing the dynamics of governance system evolution and for evaluating how vulnerability and adaptive capacity interact with that evolutionary process. Work on that project is ongoing.
In conjunction with UNEP’s MCA4 Climate Project, Dr. Miller focused on developing a multi-criteria approach for water sector adaptation planning in developing countries. This work highlights governance as one of several key aspects of an effective and well-integrated program to improve the robustness, resilience and flexibility of water management in the face of changing climate conditions. Products included a chapter in the UNEP report and an experimental application of the methodology to long-range water planning for Yemen.
Other work related to water resource governance included CSAP mentorship of Shannon McNeeley’s (ASP) work on water planning processes in the Yampa/White River Basin of Colorado, and contributions to a NOAA-funded project in collaboration with the University of Colorado on “Interactions of Drought and Climate Adaptation for Urban Water.”
FY2011 Accomplishments: Migratory Species
In FY 2011, Dr. Miller contributed to a multidisciplinary effort to examine the biological, legal and policy dimensions of animal migration protection in the face of a changing climate. She wrote a paper for a special issue of Environmental Law on application of the theory of strategic behavior (i.e. game theory) to analysis of international agreements for migratory animal conservation in the context of climate variability. The paper provides an overview of insights available from this theoretical perspective on the problem of achieving and maintaining cooperation on habitat protection and regulation of the harvesting of migrating animals. Empirical applications of the theory include case studies on North Pacific Fur Seals, Atlantic Bluefin Tuna, and the East African Wildebeest assemblage.
FY2011 Accomplishments: Marine Fisheries
It is notoriously difficult to maintain environmentally responsible and economically efficient management of commercially-exploited marine fisheries. The common-pool nature of fishery resources makes them vulnerable to competitive harvesting that can result in a race to “the tragedy of the commons.” To be effective, marine resource governance arrangements must not only control that tendency, but also must be able to maintain ecologically sustainable harvesting levels for targeted species despite often complex, highly variable and difficult-to-observe biophysical processes driving the dynamics of those populations and their supporting ecosystems. In FY 2011 CSAP’s Dr. Miller worked with an international team of social, biological and physical scientists on a draft paper to be submitted to Science, provisionally entitled “Global Science for Global Governance of Oceanic Ecosystems.” She is currently taking the lead in helping to resolve divergent disciplinary perspectives in order to complete the final draft. She also participated in a workshop on future challenges for fisheries economics and management hosted by the Institute of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen, where she provided insights on the implications of climate change for marine fisheries governance. Finally, she has helped to organize a session on Oceanic Ecosystem Governance at the upcoming “Planet Under Pressure” conference in London, March 2012, at which she will present a paper on game theoretic insights on cooperation and conflict in oceanic ecosystem governance.
Kathleen A. Miller, 2011. Conservation of Migratory Species in a Changing Climate: Strategic Behavior and Policy Design, Environmental Law, 41: 573-598. Available online at: http://www.lclark.edu/live/files/8526-412miller
Kathleen Miller, 2011. Adaptation Theme Report: Improving Water Resource Management. Contribution to the MCA4climate initiative. MCA4climate: A practical framework for planning pro-development climate policies. UNEP, Paris. Available online at: http://www.mca4climate.info/_assets/files/Water_Management_Final_Report.pdf.
Kathleen Miller, Peter Golubtsov and Robert McKelvey, 2011. “Fleets, Sites and Conservation Goals: Game Theoretic Insights on Management Options for Multinational Tuna Fisheries.” in Rosemary Ommer, Ian Perry, Philippe Cury, Kevern Cochrane (Eds.), World Fisheries: a Social-Ecological Analysis, Chapter 4, pp.60-88.
Kathleen Miller, Anthony Charles, Manuel Barange, Keith Brander, Vincent F. Gallucci, Maria A. Gasalla, Ahmed Khan, Gordon Munro, Raghu Murtugudde, Rosemary E. Ommer, and R. Ian Perry, 2010. Climate change, uncertainty, and resilient fisheries: Institutional responses through integrative science, Progress in Oceanography, 87: 338-346. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2010.09.014
In FY2012, Dr. Miller will continue working with Dr. Romero Lankao on the analysis of the dynamics of governance arrangements for adaptive urban water management. Initial work will focus on finalizing the comparative study of Mexico City and Southern California for journal submission. In addition, she will continue working with Shannon McNeeley to complete a paper on social learning in water governance that draws upon Dr. McNeeley’s ASP Post-doctoral project. Other work on water resources and climate adaptation will include collaborating with David Yates on two activities:
- A paper articulating a transparent structured approach for robust water resource planning under climate change uncertainty. This paper will draw upon and extend their previous work with urban water utilities.
- A white paper on methods for adaptive water-energy planning
and policy analysis to be submitted as a background document in support of the
upcoming US National Assessment (USNA). Work on the white paper is
partially supported by the NOAA SARP program.
Other work on will include a planned collaboration with Dr. Gordon Munro, University of British Columbia, on the application of economic theory to adaptive management of marine fisheries in a changing climate. In addition, Dr. Miller is preparing a paper on “Game theoretic insights on cooperation and conflict in oceanic ecosystem governance” to be presented at the Planet Under Pressure conference (March 2012, London).