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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Mechanisms of Weak Governance in Grasslands and Wetlands of South America

Eufemia, Luca; Bonatti, Michelle; Sieber, Stefan; Schroeter, Barbara; Lana, Marcos A.


Weak governance is a major threat to sustainable development, especially in rural contexts and within ecosystems of great social and economic value. To understand and compare its arrangement in the grasslands and wetlands of the Colombian Llanos and the Paraguayan Pantanal, we build upon the Institutional and Development Framework (IAD) as we explore the role of political, economic, and social institutions and combine components of the theory of common-pool resources (CPR) and new institutional economics (NIE). This hybrid conceptualization provides a synthesis of how top-down hierarchical and market-based systems of community-based and natural resource management negatively affect sustainable development in both study areas. Our findings suggest three underlying mechanisms causing a situation of weak governance: centralized (economic and political) power, the role of central and local governments, and social exclusion. Understanding these multidimensional contextual mechanisms improves the understanding that institutional structures supporting arrangements that handle grasslands and wetlands in a sustainable way are needed to protect the ecosystem's social and economic values, especially in rural and marginalized contexts.


Colombia; common-pool resources; Orinoquia; Llanos Orientales; Pantanal; Paraguay

Published in

2020, volume: 12, number: 17, article number: 7214
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Eufemia, Luca
Leibniz Zentrum fur Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF)
Bonatti, Michelle
Leibniz Zentrum fur Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF)
Sieber, Stefan
Leibniz Zentrum fur Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF)
Schroeter, Barbara
Leibniz Zentrum fur Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Crop Production Ecology

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG15 Life on land
SDG12 Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences

Publication Identifiers


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