The result of a three-year project involving a combination of prominent ecologists and social scientists, Barriers and Bridges to the Renewal of Ecosystems and Institutions reviews a series of regional examples in its broad-ranging exploration of two key questions: Do institutions learn? and How do ecosystems respond to management actions? The book is a continuation of a series on adaptive environmental management. To answer these questions, the team of researchers looked at common patterns of pathology in managed ecosystems, whereby resource exploitation leads to ecological, social, and institutional breakdown, followed by crisis and, in some examples, reform and learning. Following an introduction by C.S. Holling describing the range of barriers and bridges to be discussed, six regional examples are reviewed. The management histories in New Brunswick forests, the Everglades, Chesapeake Bay, the Columbia River, the Great Lakes, and the Baltic Sea demonstrate how people and ecosystems coevolve. In the third section contributors offer perspectives from social science to suggest broad critical strategies for surmounting barriers and renewing damaged ecosystems. The final chapter provides a unique synthesis that compares ecological and social dynamics. This book will appeal to any reader with an interest in our environment, from property rights advocates to resource practitioners and theorists to environmental activists.