Ecology and Society (Dec 2019)

Institutions and the resilience of biobased production systems: the historical case of livestock intensification in the Netherlands

  • Catrien J. A. M. Termeer,
  • Peter H. Feindt,
  • Timos Karpouzoglou,
  • Krijn J. Poppe,
  • Gert Jan Hofstede,
  • Koen Kramer,
  • Lan Ge,
  • Erik Mathijs,
  • Miranda P. M. Meuwissen

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 24, no. 4
p. 15


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Disconnects between farming and urban systems are widely seen as impairing the resilience of biobased production systems (BBPSs). However, the institutional mechanisms that underlie these resilience problems are not well understood. In this explorative paper, which integrates elements from institutional and resilience theory, we develop a framework to analyze how institutionally shaped patterns of connects and disconnects affect the resilience of BBPs along the dimensions of robustness, adaptability, and transformability. This framework is applied to the historical case of pig livestock intensification in the Netherlands from 1870 to 2017. The case shows that institutions, successfully established in earlier periods, shape connects and disconnects in subsequent periods, thereby enabling and constraining resilience. A combination of perturbations, institutional layering, and shifts in ideational power is an important institutional mechanism for resilience. We conclude that building resilience requires a variety of reconnecting institutions and refraining from a focus on local reconnects or certification only.