Alternative Strategies of Ecosystem Managmenet and Institutional Interplay

Henry Regier explaining conflict over management of the Great Lakes, when he recieved a life time achievement award for important and continued contributions to the field of Great Lakes research. (From Post-normal Times):

Two strategies have been used within our Great Lakes Basin’s governance institutions in recent decades to cope with adverse interrelationships between humans and the rest of nature. Important features of each strategy can be traced back to different emphases within Darwinism a century ago. T. H. Huxley emphasized the role of agonistic or combative interactions within natural selection while P. Kropotkin emphasized mutualistic or cooperative interactions. Capitalists invoked Huxley’s Mutual Harm version for legitimation of their practices while communitarians invoked Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid version. Implicitly the more legalistic regulatory strategies that now dominate within governance in our Basin presuppose Mutual Harm dynamics and seek to temper such harm through pre-cast technocratic capabilities. Participatory democratic programs, now sub-dominant, seek to foster Mutual Aid dynamics less formally. Old Rational Management tries to Temper Mutual Harm Technocratically, TMHT. Drama-of-the-Commons Governance tries to Foster Mutual Aid Democratically, FMAD. Currently, the higher the level of governance in which action on some environmental issue is centred, the more likely that TMHT will dominate, and vice versa. This asymmetry creates problems in hybrid cross-level Adaptive Co-Management and vertical inter-agency partnerships.

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