Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 4171: A Conceptual Framework for Heuristic Progress in Exploring Management Regime Shifts in Biodiversity Conservation and Climate Change Adaptation of Coastal Areas (Sustainability)
Social conflicts related to biodiversity conservation and adaptation policy to climate change in coastal areas illustrate the need to reinforce understanding of the “matters of concern” as well as the “matters of fact”. In this paper, we argue that we must rethink adaptation from a new perspective, considering that humans together function as both ecological actors and social actors. Using international examples from the UNESCO world biosphere reserve network, we show that an ontological perspective may provide a simple and compact way to think about coupled infrastructure systems and systematic formalism, allowing for understanding of the relational matrix between actors, institutions and ecosystems. We contend that our formalism responds to three challenges. First, it encompasses the different regional contexts and policies that rely on the same ontology. Second, it provides a method to relate any local adaptation plan to the conservation paradigms that originate from the ecological modernization of policies. Third, it facilitates the discovery of drivers and processes involved in adaptation and management regime shifts by highlighting the way contextual factors configure, determine the structure of the action situation of the Institutional Analysis and Development framework (IAD) (Ostrom 2005), and how it operates.