This article investigates natural resource governance in three indigenous communities in the Colombian Amazon. We base our analysis on an evolutionary governance model in which governance dimensions emerge as relevant through time. The less accessible of the communities represents earlier steps in governance evolution, while the more physically accessible is more integrated into the western scene. We observe how increased physical accessibility in a community brings in western governance models which hybridize with more traditional ones, influencing the couplings between the social and ecological systems. We zoom in on changing management of three commonly used palm species and illustrate how detailed studies of natural resource management contribute to understanding governance evolution. By comparing governance evolutions we were able to gain insights and improve our understanding on how natural resource management changes in communities transiting into western ways of living. In doing so we recognized points of rigidity and flexibility which might influence the social ecological systems capacity to adapt to changing conditions.
Gruezmacher, M. & Van Assche, K. (2014) The evolution of socio-ecological systems: changing palm species management in the Colombian Amazon as an indicator of ecological and institutional change. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management.