Requirements for adaptive governance of groundwater ecosystem services: insights from Sandveld (South Africa), Upper Guadiana (Spain) and Spree (Germany)

Autor(en): Knueppe, Kathrin 
Pahl-Wostl, Claudia 
Stichwörter: Adaptive management; Case study research; Ecosystem services; Environmental Sciences; Environmental Sciences & Ecology; Environmental Studies; Groundwater; MANAGEMENT; Management and Transition Framework; Vertical and horizontal integration; WATER GOVERNANCE
Erscheinungsdatum: 2013
Volumen: 13
Ausgabe: 1
Startseite: 53
Seitenende: 66
The over-abstraction of aquifers and the modification of landscape-water systems often result in the degradation of groundwater resources and the loss of related ecosystem services. Many of these problems are associated with failure of governance and management regimes. Thus, groundwater resources require innovative approaches that deal with system complexity moving governments toward adaptive and integrated management. Vertical (hierarchical) and horizontal (cross-sectoral) integration structures are crucial characteristics of adaptive governance and support sustainable management of groundwater ecosystem services. The research objective of this article is to investigate linkages between these integration structures, the governance regime and the state of groundwater ecosystem services across three case studies: Sandveld (South Africa), Upper Guadiana (Spain) and Spree (Germany). First, we developed a set of criteria indicating vertical and horizontal integration and then applied a conceptual and analytical approach, the Management and Transition Framework, specifically developed to support a systematic and consistent investigation of policy and management processes. Results indicate that higher degrees of integration during management activities do not identify a direct improvement of groundwater ecosystem services. But evidence highlights that integration (1) opens up the political arena for environmental perspectives, (2) increases the quality of groundwater and conservation plans, (3) accelerates the implementation of policies, (4) mitigates conflicts between different groundwater users and (5) increases the awareness of different ecosystem services. Finally, we conclude that compared with other natural resources, groundwater management still lacks participation, multi-level interactions and sectoral integration, especially at higher levels of management.
ISSN: 14363798
DOI: 10.1007/s10113-012-0312-7

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