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Social-Ecological Systems Meta-Analysis Database: Variables

Variable TypeCategorical
Variable Component TypeGovernance System
Variable KindComponent
ThemeBasic (learn about themes)
ProjectsSESMAD, Fiji fisheries
QuestionIf the governance system was motivated by a trigger, was it a sudden disturbance, or slow and continuous change?
Select OptionsSudden disturbance, slow continuous change
ImportanceThis variable helps to provide context for the motivation of the governance system. It has been hypothesized that governance systems may be motivated by sudden changes or slow, cumulative changes.

"A large sudden change refers to a development (change in conditions that characterize the system in relation to a baseline) that persisted over a relatively short period of time, possibly almost instantaneous. A slow, cumulative change refers to a change over a relatively long period of time, and whose development may be characterized by feedbacks and/or interaction of various system components causing the problem in relation to a reference condition (Gibson et al. 2000). For definition of disturbance, see for example Rykiel (1985)."


Theory Usages

TheoryValue Used

Associated Studies

Study Citation

Component Usages

ComponentValue UsedExplanation
"New Order" Indonesian Forest Governance System, 1965-1998Sudden disturbanceThe initiation of Suharto's dictatorship was the result of a rather complicated set of coups and counter-coups that shook Indonesia in 1965, however they were certainly a sudden disturbance, and not a gradual change.
"Reformasi" Indonesian Forest Governance System, 1998-2012Sudden disturbanceThis governance system originated in the overthrow of a dictator (Suharto) who himself was overthrown as a result of an economic crisis, the ensuing social mobilizations, as well as a distancing between Suharto and previously supportive oligarchs.
Macquarie Island Nature Reserve Management Plan Not Applicable
Community D Governance SystemMissing
Community A Governance SystemNot Applicable
Sasi in Tomolol, Misool  
ICCAT Governance Systemslow continuous changeDeclining catches of Eastern Atlantic Bluefin Tuna in the 1950's and early 1960's prompted interested parties to begin self-organizing to coordinate regulation of Tuna in the Atlantic Ocean.
GMR governance system 1998-current Sudden disturbance. Time scale of 10 or so years of degradation, which I've coded as a sudden disturbance. Increasing social conflict and ecological degradation with the development of the fishery; accelerated stock collapse in the few years leading up to the establishment of the GMR. Fishery was closed in 1992 and 1995. In 1995, fishermen staged large protests, raiding National Park offices, destroying property, and holding giant tortoises hostage (Bremmer & Perez, 2002)
Montreal Protocolslow continuous change
Pre-Montreal Protocol Ozone Governanceslow continuous changePolicies arose as a result of increasing recognition of problems associated with ozone depletion, and their link to ozone depleting substances. There was no direct trigger, although it is unlikely that any policies would have been implemented without the growth of scientific knowledge.
Rhine Chemicals Conventionslow continuous changeA previous agreement, the Berne agreements and the creation of the ICPR had been triggered by a natural disaster (chemical spill) in the 1960s.
Rhine Action PlanSudden disturbanceOn November 1, 1986, a heavy pollution wave now called the Sandoz Accident occurred in the course of putting out a warehouse fire in Basle, Switzerland. The warehouse contained 30,000 kg of toxic chemicals including insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides. This discharge of organophosphorous and organochlorine compounds had a high selective mortality effect on the eel Anguilla anguilla population (a fish formerly considered less sensitive to pollution). This incident was also extremely detrimental to other fish populations, macro-invertebrates, and plankton communities. In response to the Sandoz accident, the ICPR developed the Rhine Action Program.
GBR Marine Park Act 1975-1999slow continuous changeOngoing concerns about biodiversity declines motivated the creation of the marine park. The potential of oil and gas exploration around the reef also motivated the development of the park.
GBR Marine Park Act 2004-currentslow continuous changeConcerns about ongoing threats to biodiversity, and the threat of climate change, prompted the rezoning of the marine park.
Wakatobi National Park 2008-currentslow continuous changeSlow continuous change: Concerns about over-fishing and declines in iconic species (e.g. turtles)
NWHI Monument Act 2006 More opportunistic then for a specific reason or change.
Magnuson-Stevens Actslow continuous change
Macquarie Island Toothfish Fishery Management PlanNot Applicable
Raja Ampat Governance Systemslow continuous changeStarted with landmark meeting in 2003 – adat laders from across Raja Ampat, including RA government and NGOs came together to discuss current state of marine resources - tomlol declaration – it was recognised there was a decline in resources, with outside fishermen coming in, and local people needing to paddle further to catch fish - wanted to do something about it and wanted to reclaim traditional rights over their reefs.
Joint Sanctuary Management Governance System slow continuous changePollution, industrial commercial development, waste dumping, and especially oil spills in the 1960s and 70s heightened the public's concern for coasts and oceans (Chandler and Gillelan, 2005). The US Congress responded by allocating federal funds for states to develop coastal zone management plans, water pollution, and ocean dumping policies. President Johnson's Science Advisory Committee recommended a marine wilderness preservation system in 1966. In 1967, Congressional bipartisan bills were introduced to study the feasibility of creating national marine protected areas. Bills were introduced specifically to prohibit drilling, especially in California after the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill. Jacques Cousteau's 1971 testimony to the Senate Subcommittee on Oceanography is thought to have contributed significantly to federal funding for the sanctuaries.The House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee introduced the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA) in 1971 and in 1972 President Nixon signed the act into law. The three California sanctuaries were designated primarily to exclude oil drilling, and were chosen according to their ecologically critical habitats. The Gulf of the Farallones NMS was proposed during a public workshop in Mill Valley, California in 1978 and the following years consisted of issue papers, regional and state hearings, and draft regulations until it was designated. Cordell Bank NMS was introduced by the non-profit organization Cordell Expeditions in 1981 who wanted to explore the Bank (CBNMS FMP, 2008). After deemed eligible by NOAA, public comment and research contributed to its designation 8 years later. The State of California first nominated the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in 1977 and after a number of site analyses and meetings and public hearings, the Sanctuary was established congressionally by the Oceans Act of 1992 (MBNMS FMP, 2008).
Community C Governance SystemMissing
Community B Governance SystemNot Applicable
Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Planslow continuous changeFisheries were in decline, and Magnuson Stevens Act required fisheries to be managed by council with FMPs.
Svalbard Environmental Protection ActNot Applicable
Seaflower MPA Act 2005Sudden disturbanceIn this case it might not have been environmental but social trigger: declaration of the Seaflower as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.
Community G Governance SystemMissing
Community H Governance SystemMissing
Community E Governance SystemMissing
Community F Governance SystemMissing
Galapagos Governance System 1998-currentSudden disturbanceLong history of exploitation. But in the 20th century, industrial tuna fishing boats and long liners began to exploit the area in large numbers. Plus in the 1990s, lucrative markets for sea cucumbers and illegal shark fins fueled explosive growth in fishing with sobering environmental consequences.
Macquarie Island Marine Park Management PlanNot Applicable
GABMP (Commonwealth Waters) Plan of Management 2000 - 2005 and Management Plan 2005 - 2012slow continuous changeThe Park was declared for: the preservation of the area in its natural condition; and the encouragement and regulation of the appropriate use, appreciation and enjoyment of the area by the public.
Heard and McDonald Islands Marine Reserve Management PlanNot Applicable
Heard Island and McDonald Islands Fishery Management PlanNot Applicable
Cenderwasih governance system Central Indonesian governement
The Falkland Islands Government (FIG) Fisheries Department’s Falklands Interim Conservation and Management Zone (FICZ)Sudden disturbanceThe Falkland Islands Government gained momentum after the war of 1982. Around this time, trawlers from Spain, Poland, and the Soviet Union began to exploit squid stocks and there was significant worry that foreign vessels would overfish the resources, and the new local body would not gain anything in the process. However, governance was mostly a way to claim the waters for the UK. They called in the "conservation zone" because the term "EEZ" was not politically available, but by calling it the conservation zone they claimed authority over it. After the war, fishing squid in the region almost reached maximum, where overfished populations were expected by 1986. As such, the Falkland Islands convinced the UK to set up the conservation zones in 1986.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife Market Squid Fishery Management Planslow continuous changeThe squid market was an open-access fishery before 1998. However, in 1983, AB 513 allowed the Commission to specify the days and times when squid could be taken. No squid could be taken with a roundhaul net in Monterey between noon on Friday and midnight on Sunday, and any weekday between noon and midnight. Then in 1997, SB 364 established a moratorium on new squid vessels. A permit was needed to use roundhaul, and a permit was needed to attract squid by light from a vessel. A commercial squid light boat owner permit was given a fee. These limitations were effective in 1998. The squid fishery, while historically dates back to the 1860s, only became a high profile fishery in the 1980s and 1990s when global market demand rapidly increased, as did participation in the fishery. Finally, in 2004 a Restricted Access Program was created that became effective April 1, 2005.
New Zealand Quota Management Systemslow continuous changeUntil 1983, New Zealand fisheries were governed by the much-amended Fisheries Act of 1908 (Mace et al., 2014). This management framework had, by the early 1980s, led to low stock sizes in some key inshore fisheries and modest overcapacity of the inshore fishing fleet (Connor, 2001). A new Fisheries Act was introduced in 1983 and substantially amended in 1986 to provide for a system of Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs) in inshore commercial fisheries and to solidify the system of ‘enterprise allocations’ previously put in place for deepwater fisheries (Clark and Duncan,1986; Clark et al., 1988). When nations started to acquire jurisdiction over their own EEZs with The Law of the Sea, was clear that needed to come up with a system to manage. Political shift in the 80s that went from a hands on. Then in 1984 there was a significant political change that turned much more free market and open economy. The QMS was very much on that path being that it was rights based and so was set with the new political philosophy. It was a palatable choice and the time when it was introduced. Species continually slowly added to the QMS.
Caeté-Taperaçú Extractive Reserve (RESEX) in Brazilslow continuous change
Indonesian Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture 
Self.organized rules and norms for SCUBA divingslow continuous changeConflict between local fishers and SCUBA divers in the area.
Marine Areas for Responsible Fishing (AMPRs) Costa Ricaslow continuous changeTo include small-scale fisheries into national marine and coastal development processes