Social Capital and Natural Resource Management: Yet Another "Missing Link"?

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During the past decades there has been a growing attention to the concept of “social capital” within social science. Defined generally, social capital is the characteristics of social structures that facilitate collaborative action and, as a result, enhances economic performance. The concept has, to a limited extent, also been studied with regards to its potential impact on collective action in sustainable natural resource management. Research has shown that the strengthening of social capital can improve environmental outcomes through decreased costs of collective action, increased knowledge and information flows, increased cooperation, less resource degradation and depletion, more investment in common lands and water systems and improved monitoring and enforcement. Social capital can therefore be understood as an important institutional asset in order to achieve sustainable natural resource management. The paper will discuss the linkage between social capital and sustainable natural resource management even further, seeking to contribute to a broader contextual understanding of the correlation between social structures and environmental sustainability.


Keywords: Social Capital, Natural Resource Management
Stream: Environmental Sustainability
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Social Capital, Institutions and Natural Resource Management


Anne Gry Rønningen

PhD fellow, Faculty of Social science
Department of Public Policy, Aarhus University

Aarhus, Denmark

Currently a PhD fellow at Aarhus University, Denmark, doing research on the topic "social capital and its impact on natural resource management in West Africa". Holds a Master in Human Geography from the University of Oslo, Norway. Have done previous studies on water management in post-Soviet Central Asia.

Ref: S08P0202