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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. In Understanding Knowledge as a Commons, experts from a range of disciplines discuss the knowledge commons in the digital era--how to conceptualize it, protect it, and build it.Contributors consider the concept of the commons historically and offer an analytical framework for understanding knowledge as a shared social-ecological system. They look at ways to guard against enclosure of the knowledge commons, considering, among other topics, the role of research libraries, the advantages of making scholarly material available outside the academy, and the problem of disappearing Web pages. They discuss the role of intellectual property in a new knowledge commons, the open access movement (including possible funding models for scholarly publications), the development of associational commons, the application of a free/open source framework to scientific knowledge, and the effect on scholarly communication of collaborative communities within academia, and offer a case study of EconPort, an open access, open source digital library for students and researchers in microeconomics. The essays clarify critical issues that arise within these new types of commons--and offer guideposts for future theory and practice.Contributors:David Bollier, James Boyle, James C. Cox, Shubha Ghosh, Charlotte Hess, Nancy Kranich, Peter Levine, Wendy Pradt Lougee, Elinor Ostrom, Charles Schweik, Peter Suber, J. Todd Swarthout, Donald Waters

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. It investigates why some forested areas thrive even in the presence of high human densities and activity while others decline and disappear.The book brings together findings from an ongoing, large-scale, multidisciplinary research project undertaken by anthropologists, geographers, economists, sociologists, political scientists, environmental scientists, and biologists in more than twelve countries at over eighty locations. After addressing theory and methodology, including chapters on satellite remote sensing, geographic information systems, and modeling of land-cover change, the book presents case studies that compare data across sites and across temporal and spatial scales. It contributes to Human Dimensions in Global Change research and proposes new directions for this area of study.

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.

The book analyzes new problems that owners, managers, policy makers, and analysts face in managing natural commons. It examines recent findings about the physical characteristics of the commons, their complexity and interconnectedness, and the role of social capital. It also provides empirical studies and suggestions for sustainable development. The topics discussed include the role of financial, political, and social capital in deforestation, community efforts to gain political influence in Indonesia, the Maine lobster industry, outcomes of the implementation of individual transferable quotas in New Zealand and Iceland fisheries, and design of multilateral emissions trading for regional air pollution and global warming.

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.

People and Forests explores the complex interactions between local communities and their forests. It focuses on the rules by which communities govern and manage their forest resources. As part of the International Forestry Resources and Institutions research program, each of the contributors employs the same systematic, comparative, and interdisciplinary methods to examine why some people use their forests sustainably while others do not. The case studies come from fieldwork in Bolivia, Ecuador, India, Nepal, and Uganda.

People and Forests offers policymakers a sophisticated view of local forest management from which to develop policy options and offers biophysical and social scientists a better understanding of the linkages between residents, local institutions, and forests.

Contributors:
Arun Agrawal, Abwoli Y. Banana, C. Dustin Becker, Clark C. Gibson, William Gombya-Ssembajjwe, Rosario Leon, Margaret A. McKean, Elinor Ostrom, Charles M. Schweik, George Varughese, Mary Beth Wertime.