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Managing ecosystems is challenging because of the high number of stakeholders, the permeability of man-made political and jurisdictional demarcations in relation to the temporal and spatial extent of biophysical processes, and a limited understanding of complex ecosystem and societal dynamics. Given these conditions, collaborative governance is commonly put forward as the preferred means of addressing environmental problems. Under this paradigm, a deeper understanding of if, when, and how collaboration is effective, and when other means of addressing environmental problems are better suited, is needed. Interdisciplinary research on collaborative networks demonstrates that which actors get involved, with whom they collaborate, and in what ways they are tied to the structures of the ecosystems have profound implications on actors’ abilities to address different types of environmental problems.