Abstract: Governing complex ecosystems is inherently difficult since it involves managing uncertainties, conflicts of interests, and collective action problems in general. A central hypothesis in contemporary environmental research has been that governance arrangements incorporating multi-actor collaborations spanning multiple scales and jurisdictions are therefore needed. But are such ‘networked’ approaches to governance more effective to address complex environmental challenges? Establishing collaboration among various actors does not by itself necessarily deliver an all-encompassing general solution to environmentally related governing challenges. And from an empirical point of view, there is no common view on what network effectiveness is exactly and how to measure it. This lack of consensus does not, however, mean that theory and empirical evidence in regard to the presumed benefits of collaboration and networks is lacking; rather, it implies that different types of collaborative networks can be more or less, or not at all, effective in addressing different kinds of environmental problems.
In this talk I will present two recent examples on how an explicit network modeling approach can help to address these issues. The first is based on a series of collaborative initiatives in Sweden aiming to jointly develop comprehensive management plans for different coastal regions. The second is based on the crisis organization that was set up as a collaborative response to the largest wildfire in several decades in Sweden. The former case is used to investigate how different network constellations effect the joint ability to address some of the key objectives defined in ecosystem-based management, and the latter is used to explore interactions effects between collaborative network structures and structures of interdependencies among the various tasks the actors are confronted with.
Biography: Örjan Bodin is an Associate professor at the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University. He is studying different challenges and opportunities in managing natural resources, and much of his research bridges the natural and social sciences.