Revitalizing Local Commons: A Democratic Approach to Collective Management

  • Mitsuyo ToyodaEmail author
Part of the Ecology and Ethics book series (ECET, volume 3)


This chapter examines the issue of revitalizing rural environments in Japan toward ecologically sustainable communities on the basis of the field research conducted during environmental restoration activities at the estuary called Kamoko on Sado Island, Japan. This estuary, which has been used for oyster farming for more than 70 years, has undergone serious eutrophication particularly after the construction of revetment. Responding to local fishermen’s desire to improve the environment, a collaborative platform was created in 2008 in order to facilitate the sharing of various knowledge and experiences and to promote grassroots experiments for environmental restoration. The key concern in the process of restoration is transforming the degrading environment to commons, viz., important shared resources. The notion of commons here contains a different implication from traditional commons that has been managed by a closed community. Alternatively, the revitalization of degraded commons requires the realization of a wider and deeper public participation through the development of an open platform. On the basis of the experiment of building an open system of commons, this chapter reports essential ideas for the growth of collaborative governance of the environment.


Public participation Collaborative environmental governance Commons Sustainable development Environmental restoration 


  1. Arnstein SR (1969) A ladder of citizen participation. J Am Plan Assoc 35:216–224Google Scholar
  2. Berkes F, Folke C, Colding J (2000) Linking social and ecological systems: management practices and social mechanisms for building resilience. Cambridge University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. Berque J, Matsuda O (2013) Coastal biodiversity management in Japanese satoumi. Mar Policy 39:191–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Centinkaya G (2009) Challenges for the maintenance of traditional knowledge in the satoyama and satoumi ecosystems, Noto Peninsula, Japan. Hum Ecol Rev 16(1):27–40Google Scholar
  5. Cox SJB (1985) No tragedy on the commons. Environ Ethics 7:49–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hardin G (1968) The tragedy of the commons. Science 162:1243–1248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hardin G (2001) Carrying capacity as an ethical concept. Soc Contract 12(1):48–57Google Scholar
  8. Kingsland SE (2015) Ecological science and practice: dialogues across cultures and disciplines. In: Rozzi R, Chapin FS III, Callicott JB, Pickett STA, Power ME, Armesto JJ, May RH Jr (eds) Earth stewardship: linking ecology and ethics in theory and practice. Ecology and ethics, vol 2. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 17–26Google Scholar
  9. Ostrom E (1990) Governing the commons: the evolution of institutions for collective action. Cambridge University Press, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ostrom E, Burger J, Field CB, Norgaard RB, Policansky D (1999) Revisiting the commons: local lessons, global challenges. Science 284:278–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Poteete AP, Janssen MA, Ostrom E (2010) Working together: collective action, the commons, and multiple methods in practice. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  12. Smith RJ (1981) Resolving the tragedy of the commons by creating private property rights in wildlife. Cato J 1:439–468Google Scholar
  13. Rozzi R (2013) Biocultural ethics: from biocultural homogenization toward biocultural conservation. In: Rozzi R, Pickett STA, Palmer C, Armesto JJ, Callicott JB (eds) Linking ecology and ethics for a changing world: values, philosophy, and action. Ecology and ethics, vol 1. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 9–32Google Scholar
  14. Yanagi T (2008) “Sato-umi”-a new concept for sustainable fisheries. In: Tsukamoto K et al (eds) Fisheries for global welfare and environment, 5th World Fisheries Congress. Terrapub, Tokyo, pp 351–358Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Toki and Ecological RestorationNiigata University, SadoNiigataJapan

Personalised recommendations