chapter  1
Towards transformative change in the coastal commons
ByDerek Armitage, Anthony Charles, Fikret Berkes
Pages 22

This chapter focuses on approaches to governing the coastal commons, emphasising a social-ecological systems perspective, and the role of resilience and transformation. To better assess coastal commons and the transformations of coastal communities from a social-ecological systems perspective, it is helpful to draw on several key concepts fundamental to a systems approach: drivers, complexity, scales and levels, and the major theme of resilience. In the context of coastal commons, it is instructive to distinguish between the two terms, 'governance' and 'management'. Efforts to sustain the coastal commons are not solely ecological challenges or solely social challenges – they are both. An integrated social-ecological systems (SES) perspective is needed, based on an explicit linking together of the 'human system' and the 'biophysical system' in a reciprocal feedback relationship. Conceptualising resilience as an ability is a useful way to deal with change and transformation in the coastal commons.