612 Scopus citations


In the context of governance of human-environment interactions, a panacea refers to a blueprint for a single type of governance system (e.g., government ownership, privatization, community property) that is applied to all environmental problems. The aim of this special feature is to provide theoretical analysis and empirical evidence to caution against the tendency, when confronted with pervasive uncertainty, to believe that scholars can generate simple models of linked social-ecological systems and deduce general solutions to the overuse of resources. Practitioners and scholars who fall into panacea traps falsely assume that all problems of resource governance can be represented by a small set of simple models, because they falsely perceive that the preferences and perceptions of most resource users are the same. Readers of this special feature will become acquainted with many cases in which panaceas fail. The articles provide an excellent overview of why they fail. Furthermore, the articles in this special feature address how scholars and public officials can increase the prospects for future sustainable resource use by facilitating a diagnostic approach in selecting appropriate starting points for governance and monitoring, as well as by learning from the outcomes of new policies and adapting in light of effective feedback.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15176-15178
Number of pages3
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number39
StatePublished - Sep 25 2007


  • Resources
  • Social-ecological systems
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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