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The Problem of Fit Between Ecosystems and Institutions: Ten Years Later

Carl Folke, Lowell Pritchard, Fikret Berkes, Johan Colding and Uno Svedin. 2007 Ecology and Society 12(1): 30


The problem of fit is about the interplay between the human and ecosystem dimensions in social-ecological systems that are not just linked but truly integrated. This interplay takes place across temporal and spatial scales and institutional and organizational levels in systems that are increasingly being interpreted as complex adaptive systems. In 1997, we were invited to produce one of three background papers related to a, at that time, new initiative called Institutional Dimensions of Global Environmental Change (IDEG), a research activity of the International Human Dimensions Program of Global Environmental Change (IHDP). The paper, which exists as a discussion paper of the IHDP, has generated considerable interest. Here we publish the original paper 10 years later with an extended introduction and with reflections on some of the issues raised in the original paper concerning problems of fit.

Keywords: social-ecological systems, compleex adaptive systems.

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