The paper focuses on the governance of the Dutch national park Weerribben-Wieden and its ability to foster ecological resilience in the face of climate change and human disturbances. The study highlights the role of various characteristics of the institutional context of governance in which resilience-relevant decisions are prepared, taken and implemented as referenced by an assessment of the governance context. The relevance of such an assessment is found in the frequent institutional changes in nature policy. This paper examines how care for the resilience in an area is supported by the governance context, given the major recent restructurings. The drastic changes in nature policy in the Netherlands include national government withdrawing from their central role and decentralising the authority for nature tasks to the provinces. Subsequently, the province has also withdrawn itself in the Weerribben-Wieden case and decentralised nature tasks to the municipality. So, in our research case, the ‘take home message’ relates to the impacts of decentralisation in different ‘sizes’. Institutional change by decentralisation does not come in ‘one size’, but rather in a multiform phenomenon of layers and aspects. The governance assessment tool was used to analyze the consequences of this decentralisation for the processes in which resilience measures are implemented in various degrees and interactions. Decentralisation without balanced problem perspectives and goals, without an integral approach towards the park's resilience, and without adequate strategies and instruments, most likely leads to a lengthy transition process with uncertain outcomes. The study concludes that institutional changes in this case restricted adaptiveness of governance towards resilience and has diminished a sense of responsibility for the maintenance of the national park resources.
- Protected area
- Ecosystem services