| By T.Perreault, A. Bebbington and T.Carroll | Published in the Conference of Latin American Geographers Yearbook, Volume 24: 1-16 |

Abstract: Recent debates on the role of social capital in development are of relevance to nature-society analysis within geography because they highlight the ways in which forms of social organization can increase the effectiveness, equity and efficiency of natural resource management strategies. Through a case study of irrigation management organizations in the Northern Andes of Ecuador, this paper addresses the ways in which this form of social capital has been created as a result of both relatively recent development interventions and longer term political economic processes. The study also discusses the impacts that this has had on natural resources and rural livelihoods. The paper suggests possible indicators for assessing social capital formation, and draws conclusions regarding the conditions under which social capital is most likely to be created and most likely to have positive impacts.