The cultural evolution of collective property rights for sustainable resource governance

Community-based natural resource management has been dominated for several decades by the design principles of Nobel Prize laureate Elinor Ostrom. These principles provide guidelines for improving the governance of resource systems, from small-scale forest management groups to global commons like the high seas. Four of these principles (boundaries that control access, rules that fit the local context, community determinations of regulations, and monitoring and enforcement), are nearly universally used across successful governance institutions worldwide. Simply put, “manage your resource and keep outsiders out.”

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