One of the goals of adaptive governance is to increase management flexibility in the face of a changing social-ecological system. In contrast, one of the key functions of governance systems is to provide stability, predictability, and security for the people subject to that system. This chapter explores this adaptive governance paradox, focusing on the Klamath and Everglades case studies presented earlier in this volume—although the paradox arises in all of the case study river basins and indeed in most adaptive governance projects. It concludes that while the Everglades system has detrimentally privileged stability at the expense of flexibility and adaptability, the Klamath Basin system is showing signs that it may be able to appropriately balance stability and flexibility in its governance institutions to better address changing climatic, legal, and political realities.
Read the chapter in Practical Panarchy for Adaptive Water Governance.