“Ostrom Center for the Advanced Study in Natural Resource Governance” (OCeAN@AIT.ASIA)

Natural Resources Management Field of Study

School of Environment, Resources and Development (SERD)

Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), PO Box-4, Klong Luang, Pathumthani 12120, THAILAND

Contact mail: ganesh@ait.asia or rajednra@ait.asia




Throughout Asia, degradation of natural resources is happening at a higher rate and is a primary environmental concern. Recent tragedies associated with climate change have clear footprints on the deforestation, land degradation and water course changing.  A significant proportion of land use conversion is undertaken through rural activities, where resource degradation and deforestation are often the result of overexploitation by users who make resource-use decisions based on a complex matrix of options and potential outcomes.

Specifically, the following issues are of interest to seek answers to:

  1. How can economic growth be prudent together with holding natural resources intact?
  2. How has decentralization of natural management rights affected the resource conditions, and how have concerns of gender and social inclusion been incorporated in the process?
  3. How can the sustainability of efforts to improve the productive capacity of CPR systems be assessed in the context of current debate on the effects of climate change and initiative and implementation of new programs such as PES and REDD+?
  4. How can multiple methods of information gathering and analysis (by multiple methods, we mean both triangulation of methods to get the true picture as well as the combination of socioeconomic methods with the biological science through a combination of micro-macro analytic methods such as remotely sensed data over time verified by ground-trothing and additional GPS sample point verification process) on CPRs be integrated in the national natural resource policy guidelines and the results used by local managers and users of CPRs, government agencies and scholars?
  5. What are the effective polycentric policy approaches for governance and management of CPRs that are environmentally sustainable and gender balanced?


Objectives of OCeAN:

At each level of society, there are stakeholders both at the public and private levels that are of primary concern for efforts of management enhancement and policy arrangements.  Current theoretical research indicates that whether it is deforestation, resource degradation, and conservation of biodiversity hotspots or climate change adaptation. The real struggles of these local-level actors that directly affect CPR and additionally hundreds of people who are dependent upon them for living. This series is about their decisions on managing natural resources during situation of mishap. Basically, we tend to explore outcomes after decentralization and economic reforms respectively. Post situation after rights were handed over to the people, the Center scrutinizes the variations and relations between communities, local administration and the CPR.  It’s built more on autonomous mechanism and use of natural resources together with day-to-day undertakings of local practice and routinely trying to add up to the prospects made available to them. The two-digit economic growth is every country’s desire. But in the context of Asia, much of the economic growth is through natural resource overuse. In a way, economic growth affects the environment while, with focus on environment economic advancement cannot be made; construction of highways and hydro-powers can be some of the examples, and conversion of subsistence farming areas to rubber and oil palm plantation is another example exclusive to Asia.


The Center intends to bring the issues of S and SE Asia forward for global audiences and policy makers the following activities through the OCeAN Center:

(a)  Organize a book retreat to plan on documenting more field-based, location-specific natural resource issues from rural Asia;

(b) Host senior scholars to start drafting advanced theoretical volumes on the issues related to governance and management of natural resources;

(c) Organize and support 1-2 weeks training at AIT for drafting high-impact factor environmental and natural resources related journals and / or plan editing special issues of thee journals for faculty and advanced doctoral students by inviting similar research center scholars from major global universities;

(d) Organize Policy dialogue on “Improving Governance and management of Natural Resources through collaboration among the high level decision-makers; and

(e) Organize grant writing workshops for submitting competitive proposals to the major funding organizations.

Governance of OcEAN:

The Center is being housed within the School of Environment, Resources and Development (SERD) at AIT. For the management of the Center, the Dean/SERD facilitates the administrative matters, and Professor Ganesh Shivakoti is responsible for the organization of research and academic retreats together with other colleagues within AIT and beyond.

The Center is an autonomous intellectual Center  governed by an Advisory Board. The Advisory Board is comprised of:


Worsak Kanok-Nukulchai, President, AIT  – Chair
Vice President, AIT – Member
Dean / School of Environment, Resources and Development, AIT – Member
David Hulse, Ford Representative, Jakarta, Indonesia – Member
Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Senior Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute – Member
Makoto Inoue, The University of Tokyo – Member
Tom Evans, The Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University — Member,
Marco Janssen, Center for the Study of Behavior, Institutions and Environment, Arizona State University — Member
Tint L. Thaung, Director, The Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC), Bangkok, Thailand — Member

Professor Ganesh Shivakoti, Founder Director, OCeAN

SERD Dean Professor Rajendra Shrestha, Member Secretary