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Recent Scientific Papers

Ecology and Society 

A journal of integrative science for resilience and sustainability
Ecology and Society Current Table of Contents
The twenty most current aticles published.
Rivers and streams in the media: a content analysis of ecosystem services
16. August 2017 Weber, M. A., Caplan, S., Ringold, P., Blocksom, K. Research
Although ecosystem services research has become common, few efforts are directed toward in-depth understanding of the specific ecological quantities people value. The theoretical framework of final ecosystem services focuses attention on such measurable attributes, as a common currency for social-ecological systems research. Environmental communications as well as ecological monitoring and analysis efforts could be enhanced through increased documentation of final ecosystem services. For example, small changes in the way ecosystems are described could strongly influence relevance to the...
Coordination and health sector adaptation to climate change in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta
15. August 2017 Gilfillan, D., Nguyen, T. T., Pham, H. T. Research
This research examines the impact of three coordination dimensions on health sector adaptation to climate change in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta: cross-scale, cross-sectoral, and cross-boundary. While tasks are divided up between government ministries and departments in Vietnam, there is little collaboration on issues that span mandates. Similarly, while water flows in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta take resource management and health concerns across provincial boundaries, formal mechanisms for interprovincial collaboration are lacking. While decentralization efforts have sought to devolve...
Inter- and transdisciplinary scenario construction to explore future land-use options in southern Amazonia
15. August 2017 Sch?nenberg, R., Schaldach, R., Lakes, T., G?pel, J., Gollnow, F. Research
Our aim with this paper is to present a novel approach for developing story lines and scenarios by combining qualitative knowledge and quantitative data from different disciplines and discussing the results with relevant decision makers. This research strategy offers a solid foundation for perspectives into the future. The “laboratory” is the Brazilian Amazon, one of the hotspots of land-use change where local and global interests both collide and converge: local livelihoods are affected by regional and global climate change and by the loss of biodiversity caused by local and...
Environmental justice research shows the importance of social feedbacks in ecosystem service trade-offs
10. August 2017 Dawson, N. M., Grogan, K., Martin, A., Mertz, O., Pasgaard, M., Rasmussen, L. Research
In this article, we shine a spotlight on approaches to research ecosystem service trade-offs and critically assess their representation of relevant social dynamics. Although studies linking ecosystem services and human well-being have provided theoretical insights into social and ecological trade-offs, we argue that ecosystem services research has paid insufficient attention to “social feedbacks,” people’s cognitive and behavioral responses to change. We demonstrate that augmenting ecosystem services research with environmental justice approaches (exploring perceptions of...
The science and politics of human well-being: a case study in cocreating indicators for Puget Sound restoration
10. August 2017 Biedenweg, K., Harguth, H., Stiles, K. Research
Across scientific fields, there have been calls to improve the integration of scientific knowledge in policy making. Particularly since the publication of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, these calls increasingly refer to data on human well-being related to the natural environment. However, policy decisions involve selective uptake of information across communities with different preferences and decision-making processes. Additionally, researchers face the fact that there are important trade-offs in producing knowledge that is simultaneously credible, legitimate, socially relevant...
The role of agroforestry in building livelihood resilience to floods and drought in semiarid Kenya
09. August 2017 Quandt, A., Neufeldt, H., McCabe, J. Research
Climate change may create serious problems for farmers by increasing precipitation variability and drought and flood events. Understanding how to build livelihood resilience to these effects is a pressing need. Agroforestry is one potential solution. Although many people intuitively link agroforestry with livelihood resilience to floods and drought, little comprehensive empirical evidence exists. Here, we strive to answer the call for more empirical evidence by drawing on field work in Isiolo County, Kenya to ask the research question: How does agroforestry help smallholder farmers build...
How small communities respond to environmental change: patterns from tropical to polar ecosystems
09. August 2017 Huntington, H. P., Begossi, A., Fox Gearheard, S., Kersey, B., Loring, P. A., Mustonen, T., Paudel, P. K., Silvano, R. A. M., Vave, R. Synthesis
Local communities throughout the world are experiencing extensive social, cultural, economic, environmental, and climatic changes. Rather than passively accepting the effects of such changes, many communities are responding in various ways to take advantage of opportunities and to minimize negative impacts. We review examples from 13 cases around the world to identify patterns in how communities have been able to respond to change. Communities are able to respond by making changes in the time and location of activities, by using different species, by developing or using new technologies...
Polarization and clustering in scientific debates and problem framing: network analysis of the science-policy interface for grassland management in China
01. August 2017 Li, A., Yarime, M. Research
Environmental problems are usually framed by a repertoire of arguments articulated by a network of individuals (scientists and policymakers) and their affiliated institutions. Given the complexity of this network, it is important to conduct network analyses on both individual and organizational levels to achieve a better understanding of the underlying political structure that influences science-policy communication. Through an empirical study of a policy network related to grassland management in China, our study examines the underlying political structure of the network as well as its...
Where you stand depends on where you sit: qualitative inquiry into notions of fire adaptation
27. Juli 2017 Brenkert-Smith, H., Meldrum, J. R., Champ, P. A., Barth, C. M. Research
Wildfire and the threat it poses to society represents an example of the complex, dynamic relationship between social and ecological systems. Increasingly, wildfire adaptation is posited as a pathway to shift the approach to fire from a suppression paradigm that seeks to control fire to a paradigm that focuses on “living with” and “adapting to” wildfire. In this study, we seek insights into what it means to adapt to wildfire from a range of stakeholders whose efforts contribute to the management of wildfire. Study participants provided insights into the meaning...
Do ecosystem services provide an added value compared to existing forest planning approaches in Central Europe?
21. Juli 2017 Meyer, M. A., Schulz, C. Research
In forestry research, the concept of ecosystem services (ESS) is less prominent than in agricultural studies. One reason might be that multifunctional forestry and the concept of forest functions, i.e., societal demand from forest, are established and legally required planning approaches in Central Europe, e.g., in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. To explore differences in concept and perspective, we conducted a participatory stakeholder workshop to identify, score, and map ESS in an urban forest in Germany. For comparison, we used existing forest function maps. Forest function mapping...
Robust-yet-fragile nature of partly engineered social-ecological systems: a case study of coastal Bangladesh
20. Juli 2017 Ishtiaque, A., Sangwan, N., Yu, D. Insight
Modern social-ecological systems are often partly engineered to enhance the robustness (or reduce the variance) of human welfare to environmental fluctuations over a foreseeable time horizon. Recent studies show, however, that subtle trade-offs are usually inherent in such efforts of enhancing short-term robustness. Managing variance on short time scales is likely to be associated with the buildup of hidden fragilities on longer time scales. Using a flood-prone social-ecological system (SES) of coastal Bangladesh as an example, this paper investigates some of the ways in which such...
Troublemaking carnivores: conflicts with humans in a diverse assemblage of large carnivores
19. Juli 2017 Morehouse, A. T., Boyce, M. S. Research
Human-wildlife conflicts are a global conservation and management challenge. Multipredator systems present added complexity to the resolution of human-wildlife conflicts because mitigation strategies often are species-specific. Documenting the type and distribution of such conflicts is an important first step toward ensuring that subsequent management and mitigation efforts are appropriately targeted. We reviewed 16 years of records of complaints about two species of strict carnivores, wolves (Canis lupus) and cougars (Puma concolor), and two species of omnivores, grizzly bears (Ursus...
Coproduced game-changing in transformative social innovation: reconnecting the “broken city” of Rio de Janeiro
19. Juli 2017 Cipolla, C., Afonso, R., Pel, B., Bartholo, R., Silva, ?., Proen?a J?nior, D. Research
Social innovation is gaining attention for its potential for system transformations. It is often initiated by grassroots collectives, which can become successful through support from other actors and through certain game-changing events or developments. We highlight how transformative social innovation is a highly dispersed, coproduced process of changing social relations. This coproduction is unfolded through a case of interacting interventions in the socio-spatial structure of the city of Rio de Janeiro. Frequently referred to as a “broken city,” the city suffers from various...
Balancing carrots and sticks in REDD+: implications for social safeguards
19. Juli 2017 Duchelle, A. E., De Sassi, C., Jagger, P., Cromberg, M., Larson, A. M., Sunderlin, W. D., Atmadja, S. S., Resosudarmo, I., Pratama, C. Research
Reducing carbon emissions through avoided deforestation and forest degradation and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+) is key to mitigating global climate change. The aim of REDD+ social safeguards is to ensure that REDD+ does not harm, and actually benefits, local people. To be eligible for results-based compensation through REDD+, countries should develop national-level safeguard information systems to monitor and report on the impacts of REDD+. Although safeguards represent a key step for promoting social responsibility in REDD+, they are challenging to operationalize and monitor. We...
Enacting resilience for adaptive water governance: a case study of irrigation modernization in an Australian catchment
19. Juli 2017 Ayre, M. L., Nettle, R. A. Research
Adaptive governance relies on the collaboration of a diverse set of stakeholders in multiple institutions and organizations at different times and places. In the context of unprecedented water policy and management reform in Australia over the past decade, we add to insights from resilience scholarship, which identifies adaptive governance as critical to improving complex social-ecological systems, such as water management. We present empirical research with agricultural industry stakeholders who are responding to a major change initiative to renew or modernize the largest irrigation system...
Culturally induced range infilling of eastern redcedar: a problem in ecology, an ecological problem, or both?
30. Juni 2017 Streit Krug, A., Uden, D. R., Allen, C. R., Twidwell, D. Synthesis
The philosopher John Passmore distinguished between (1) “problems in ecology,” or what we might call problems in scientific understanding of ecological change, and (2) “ecological problems,” or what we might call problems faced by societies due to ecological change. The spread of eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana) and conversion of the central and southern Great Plains of North America to juniper woodland might be categorized as a problem in ecology, an ecological problem, or both. Here, we integrate and apply two interdisciplinary approaches to...
Resilience, political ecology, and well-being: an interdisciplinary approach to understanding social-ecological change in coastal Bangladesh
30. Juni 2017 Hoque, S. F., Quinn, C. H., Sallu, S. M. Research
The commodification of peasant livelihoods through export-oriented aquaculture has brought about significant social-ecological changes in low-lying coastal areas in many parts of Asia. A better understanding of the underlying drivers and distributional effects of these changes requires integration of social and ecological approaches that often have different epistemological origins. Resilience thinking has gained increased traction in social-ecological systems research because it provides a dynamic analysis of the cross-scalar interactions between multiple conditions and processes. However...
Top 40 questions in coupled human and natural systems (CHANS) research
30. Juni 2017 Kramer, D. Boyd, Hartter, J., Boag, A. E., Jain, M., Stevens, K., Nicholas, K. A., McConnell, W. J., Liu, J. Research
Understanding and managing coupled human and natural systems (CHANS) is a central challenge of the 21st century, but more focus is needed to pursue the most important questions within this vast field given limited research capacity and funding. We present 40 important questions for CHANS research, identified through a two-part crowdsourcing exercise within the CHANS community. We solicited members of the International Network of Research on Coupled Human and Natural Systems (CHANS-Net) to submit up to three questions that they considered transformative, receiving 540 questions from 207...
Learning, adaptation, and the complexity of human and natural interactions in the ocean
30. Juni 2017 Wilson, J. Synthesis
Here, I explore the system-level consequences of learning and adaptation among fish and fishers. The fundamental idea is that the cost of acquiring the knowledge needed to resolve uncertainty is the principal driver of social and spatial organization. This cost limits agents’ actions and leads them to prefer relatively persistent associations with familiar agents and places. When all agents act in this way, the regularity and self-reinforcing nature of familiarity leads to the emergence of a self-organized system. Systems like this are characterized by diverse, place-based, and...
The politics of river basin organizations: institutional design choices, coalitions, and consequences
30. Juni 2017 Huitema, D., Meijerink, S. Guest Editorial
The idea that ecosystem management should be approached at the bioregional scale is central to the thinking on adaptive governance. Taken to the domain of water management, a bioregional approach implies the foundation of river basin organizations (RBOs), a notion that has been warmly welcomed by scholars and practitioners alike. However, it appears that river basin organizations come in various shapes and sizes, their intended foundation often leads to resistance, and their actual performance is understudied. Through this special feature we seek to advance the state of our knowledge in...

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