Transformation of resource management institutions under globalization: The case of songgye community forests in South Korea

David J. Yu, John Anderies, Dowon Lee, Irene Perez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


The context in which many self-governed commons systems operate will likely be significantly altered as globalization processes play out over the next few decades. Such dramatic changes will induce some systems to fail and subsequently to be transformed, rather than merely adapt. Despite this possibility, research on globalization-induced transformations of social-ecological systems (SESs) is still underdeveloped. We seek to help fill this gap by exploring some patterns of transformation in SESs and the question of what factors help explain the persistence of cooperation in the use of common-pool resources through transformative change. Through the analysis of 89 forest commons in South Korea that experienced such transformations, we found that there are two broad types of transformation, cooperative and noncooperative. We also found that two system-level properties, transaction costs associated group size and network diversity, may affect the direction of transformation. SESs with smaller group sizes and higher network diversity may better organize cooperative transformations when the existing system becomes untenable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2
JournalEcology and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • Collective action
  • Community-based forest management
  • Forest commons
  • Multilevel governance
  • Nested enterprise
  • Network diversity
  • Robustness
  • Robustness trade-offs
  • Social-ecological systems
  • Songgye
  • Transformative capacity of social-ecological systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology

Cite this