© 2017 Elsevier Ltd An underlying understanding among adaptation and community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) scholars is the existence of important feedbacks between local resource management institutions and individual adaptive capacity. The relationship between CBNRM and individual adaptive capacity is of global concern given the ubiquity of CBNRM worldwide, the patent impacts of global changes at local levels, and the recent calls for the integration of climate and rural development policies. So far, however, there have not been formal, large-n studies of that relationship. This study aims to fill that gap by testing whether the performance of community-based water management institutions and communal land regimes have an impact on the effectiveness of farmers’ adaptation responses to climatic and global market disturbances. For this purpose, the study relies on a unique dataset of individual and collective features obtained from water user associations (WUAs) and ejidos in Mexico. According to the regression results, well-functioning community-based water management institutions have a positive and significant impact on individual farmers’ self-reported response effectiveness. The impact of communal land property is also significant but negative. These effects, which hold only in the context of climate disturbances but not market disturbances, can be explained by looking at the support given by the associations to farmers, and issues of communal land marginalization, respectively. Policies that strengthen the autonomy and capacity for cooperation of WUAs and ameliorate structural deficits in communal land regimes shall not only guarantee a long-advocated path for rural development but also help farmers deal with some of the climatic uncertainties that increasingly threaten agriculture.
- Adaptation capacity
- Community-based natural resource management
- Institutional analysis
- Water user associations