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A social-ecological system framework (SESF) consists of Resource Units, Resource System, Governance System and Users. A SESF is an extension of the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework from Elinor Ostrom. A SESF can be used to analyse networks and processes or set-up for collective action or collective governance of a common pool resources and compare real-life, contempory cases.

In economics, a common-pool resource (CPR) is a type of good consisting of a natural or human-made resource system (e.g. an irrigation system or fishing grounds), whose size or characteristics makes it costly, but not impossible, to exclude potential beneficiaries from obtaining benefits from its use. Unlike pure public goods, common pool resources face problems of congestion or overuse, because they are subtractable. A common-pool resource typically consists of a core resource (e.g. water or fish), which defines the stock variable, while providing a limited quantity of extractable fringe units, which defines the flow variable. While the core resource is to be protected or nurtured in order to allow for its continuous exploitation, the fringe units can be harvested or consumed.