The International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) has brought together an impressive array of evidence from around the world that communities are able to manage common property resources effectively and sustainably. But there is more to IASC than just great ideas, theory, and even cutting-edge research: we also have impact on the ground. Whether the issue is land reform, property rights, legal empowerment of the poor or collective action, commons research and lessons from working in and with commons regimes are important in creating identity, dignity and shaping governance systems that will benefit and give opportunity to as many people as possible, while preserving the resource at hand for future generations.
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But how does a network organization have an impact and show its impact? Through its members. IASC's bearing on social issues can be substantiated with case studies and impact stories of successful commons which challenge the myth of the ''tragedy of the commons" the popular notion that shared resources necessarily become degraded unless they are privatized , individualized or taken over by the government.
We have begun collecting impact stories of where IASC members have made an impact on the ground-and how they draw upon knowledge shared through IASC: Research, person to person exchanges, experiential knowledge, and field trips.
The stories published here are just a few examples. We're collecting these as a way of documenting our impact and understanding our challenges, so we can do it better by improving the translation of research into practice-and back again.
We invite you to read our impact stories and to share yours in order to strengthen our network and give testimony of our association's impact. We are asking for all IASC members to help us collect impact stories that they have been involved in, or know about.
Thank you for joining with us in a common effort to strengthen institutions for the management of resources that are (or couId be) held or used collectively by communities .
President, International Association for the Study of the Commons, 2008-2011 .