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Partnering for bioregionalism in England: a case study of the Westcountry Rivers Trust

Hadrian Cook, School of Natural and Built Environments, Kingston University, London
David Benson, Environment and Sustainability Institute, Department of Politics, University of Exeter, Cornwall
Laurence Couldrick, Westcountry Rivers Trust, Stoke Climsland, Callington, Cornwall


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The adoption of bioregionalism by institutions that are instrumental in river basin management has significant potential to resolve complex water resource management problems. The Westcountry Rivers Trust (WRT) in England provides an example of how localized bioregional institutionalization of adaptive comanagement, consensus decision making, local participation, indigenous technical and social knowledge, and “win-win” outcomes can potentially lead to resilient partnership working. Our analysis of the WRT’s effectiveness in confronting nonpoint source water pollution, previously impervious to centralized agency responses, provides scope for lesson-drawing on institutional design, public engagement, and effective operation, although some evident issues remain.

Key words

adaptive comanagement; bioregionalism; bioregional planning; institutions; lesson-drawing; partnership

Copyright © 2016 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087