Coastal communities depend on the marine environment for their livelihoods, but the common property nature of marine resources poses major challenges for the governance of such resources. Through detailed cases and consideration of broader global trends, this volume examines how coastal communities are adapting to environmental change, and the attributes of governance that foster deliberate transformations and help to build resilience of social and ecological systems. 

Governance here reflects how communities, societies and organisations (e.g. fisher cooperatives, government agencies) choose to organise themselves to make decisions about important issues, such as the use and protection of coastal commons (e.g. fishery resources). The book shows how a governance approach generates insights into the specific forms and arrangements that enable coastal communities to steer away from unsustainable pathways. It also provides an analytical lens to consider important questions of power, knowledge and legitimacy in linked social-ecological systems. Chapters highlight examples in which communities are engaging in deliberative transformations to build resilience and enhance their well-being. These transformations and efforts to build resilience are emerging through multi-level collaboration, shared learning, innovative policies and institutional arrangements (such as new property rights regimes and co-management), methodologies that engage with indigenous cultural practices, and entrepreneurial activities, including income and livelihood diversification. 

Case studies are included from a range of countries including Canada, Japan, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, the South Pacific and Europe. The authors integrate theory with practical examples to improve coastal marine policy and governance, and draw upon emerging concepts from social-ecological resilience and transformations, adaptive governance and the scholarship on the commons.

part I|116 pages


chapter 2|18 pages

Turning the Tide

Strategies, innovation and transformative learning at the Olifants estuary, South Africa

chapter 5|19 pages

Transformations of the reef, transformations of the mind

Marine aquarium trade in Bali, Indonesia

chapter 7|19 pages

Community participation and adaptation to change in biosphere reserves

A review and a Mediterranean European coastal wetland case study (Delta du Rhone Biosphere Reserve, southern France)

part II|127 pages


chapter 10|17 pages

Koh Pitak

A community-based environment and tourism initiative in Thailand

chapter 11|13 pages

Sasi laut in Maluku

Transformation and sustainability of traditional governance in the face of globalisation

chapter 12|20 pages

The messy intertidal zone

Transformation of governance thinking for coastal Nova Scotia

chapter 14|14 pages


Governing coastal transformations