Institutions, Ecosystems, and Sustainability. . – Books of Note

Institutions, Ecosystems, and Sustainability. . – Books of Note – book review

Sarah Michaels

edited by Robert Costanza, Bobbi S. Low, Elinor Ostrom, and James Wilson; Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, Fla., 2000; 288 pp., $59.95 cloth (ISBN 1-56670-389-1)

Sustainability is a widely accepted ideal for investigating and managing natural resources, but disciplined efforts to make its core principles operational are rare. This book is exceptional in developing a common, analytic framework and language for investigating how human institutions interact with ecological systems. The utility and applicability of the framework are probed through a set of models that analyze socioecological systems, such as fisheries and irrigation infrastructures. The most comprehensive example of applying such models is an integrated framework developed empirically for the Patuxent River watershed that leads to the Chesapeake Bay.

The authors generate multiscale conceptual and mathematical models that connect human decision systems and ecosystems. The focus on complex, nested systems highlights two underlying causes of mismanaging natural resources: missing or failed institutions and scale mismatches, which stem from either ineffective decisionmaking linkages or information aggregated at the wrong scale.

COPYRIGHT 2002 Heldref Publications

COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group