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Elinor Ostrom

Elinor Ostrom is Arthur F. Bentley Professor of Political Science, Codirector of the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University, and Codirector of the Center for the Study of Institutions, Population, and Environmental Change (CIPEC) at Indiana University.Ostrom was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.

Titles by This Editor

From Theory to Practice

Knowledge in digital form offers unprecedented access to information through the Internet but at the same time is subject to ever-greater restrictions through intellectual property legislation, overpatenting, licensing, overpricing, and lack of preservation. Looking at knowledge as a commons--as a shared resource--allows us to understand both its limitless possibilities and what threatens it.

Human-Environment Interactions in Forest Ecosystems

Throughout much of human history, changes to forest ecosystems have come about through natural climatic changes occurring over long periods of time. But scientists now find changes in forest cover dramatically accelerated by such human activities as large-scale agriculture, the building of dams and roads, and the growth of cities with vast areas of asphalt. Changes that once took centuries now take only decades. Seeing the Forest and the Trees examines changes in land cover and land use in forested regions as major contributors to global environmental change.

Challenges and Adaptation

Globalization, population growth, and resource depletion are drawing increased attention to the importance of common resources such as forests, water resources, and fisheries. It is critical that these resources be governed in an equitable and sustainable way. The Commons in the New Millennium presents cutting-edge research in common property theory and provides an overview and progress report on common property research.

Communities, Institutions, and Governance

Unplanned deforestation, which is occurring at unsustainable rates in many parts of the world, can cause significant hardships for rural communities by destroying critical stocks of fuel, fodder, food, and building materials. It can also have profound regional and global consequences by contributing to biodiversity loss, erosion, floods, lowered water tables, and climate change.