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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.
Differences in resource management affects drought vulnerability across the borders between Iraq, Syria, and Turkey
12. Oktober 2017 Eklund, L., Thompson, D. Research
Much discussion has taken place exploring a potential connection between the 2007–2009 Fertile Crescent drought and Syria's uprising-turned civil war beginning in 2011. This study takes an integrated perspective on the 2007–2009 drought in the border region of Iraq, Syria, and Turkey by looking at the meteorological, agricultural, and socioeconomic aspects of drought vulnerability. Satellite-based precipitation and vegetation data help outline the drought’s spatial and temporal properties. In order to understand the context in which this drought happened, we also look...
Agriculture production as a major driver of the Earth system exceeding planetary boundaries
12. Oktober 2017 Campbell, B. M., Beare, D. J., Bennett, E. M., Hall-Spencer, J. M., Ingram, J. S. I., Jaramillo, F., Ortiz, R., Ramankutty, N., Sayer, J. A., Shindell, D. Research
We explore the role of agriculture in destabilizing the Earth system at the planetary scale, through examining nine planetary boundaries, or “safe limits”: land-system change, freshwater use, biogeochemical flows, biosphere integrity, climate change, ocean acidification, stratospheric ozone depletion, atmospheric aerosol loading, and introduction of novel entities. Two planetary boundaries have been fully transgressed, i.e., are at high risk, biosphere integrity and biogeochemical flows, and agriculture has been the major driver of the transgression. Three are in a zone of...
Restoring the environment, revitalizing the culture: cenote conservation in Yucatan, Mexico
11. Oktober 2017 Lopez-Maldonado, Y., Berkes, F. Research
Cenotes are sinkholes through which groundwater may be accessed from the Yucatan Peninsula Aquifer. Historically and culturally, cenotes are also important cultural and spiritual natural sites for the Maya, but they have been contaminated and degraded. We ask the following: What are the present-day meanings, understanding, and values of cenotes for the Maya? Is it possible to adopt a cultural approach for conservation of cenotes in Yucatan? Participant observation, interviews with stakeholders, and underwater exploration in cenotes were used to obtain data. Results indicate that cenotes...
A new approach to conservation: using community empowerment for sustainable well-being
11. Oktober 2017 Wali, A., Alvira, D., Tallman, P. S., Ravikumar, A., Macedo, M. O. Research
The global environmental conservation community recognizes that the participation of local communities is essential for the success of conservation initiatives; however, much work remains to be done on how to integrate conservation and human well-being. We propose that an assets-based approach to environmental conservation and human well-being, which is grounded in a biocultural framework, can support sustainable and adaptive management of natural resources by communities in regions adjacent to protected areas. We present evidence from conservation and quality of life initiatives led by...
How does network governance affect social-ecological fit across the land–sea interface? An empirical assessment from the Lesser Antilles
11. Oktober 2017 Pittman, J., Armitage, D. Research
Governance across the land–sea interface presents many challenges related to (1) the engagement of diverse actors and systems of knowledge, (2) the coordinated management of shared ecological resources, and (3) the development of mechanisms to address or account for biogeochemical (e.g., nutrient flows) and ecological (e.g., species movements) interdependencies between marine and terrestrial systems. If left unaddressed, these challenges can lead to multiple problems of social-ecological fit stemming from governance fragmentation or inattention to various components of land–sea...
Mainstreaming ecosystem services in state-level conservation planning: progress and future needs
11. Oktober 2017 Noe, R. R., Keeler, B. L., Kilgore, M. A., Taff, S. J., Polasky, S. Research
Ecosystem services (ES) have become an important focus of the conservation movement but have yet to be mainstreamed into environmental policy and management, especially at the state and federal levels. Adoption of an ES approach requires agency personnel to have knowledge or experience in implementing an ES approach and metrics that link potential actions to impacts on ES. We characterize the degree to which ES considerations are taken into account in setting priorities for conservation acquisitions in the U.S. state of Minnesota. We assess two core dimensions of an ES approach: (1...
Resilience to hazards: rice farmers in the Mahanadi Delta, India
11. Oktober 2017 Duncan, J. M., Tompkins, E. L., Dash, J., Tripathy, B. Research
Developing country deltas are important food producing areas and are home to large numbers of subsistence farmers. In particular, rice farmers dominate the populous deltas of South and Southeast Asia and face frequent climate hazards that have short- and long-term impacts on rice production and livelihoods. The aim of this study is to identify and explain proximal and ultimate factors (land access, cultural practices, and institutional support) that affect rice farmer resilience, that is, to explain why some farmers are more sensitive to climate shocks, why some farmers suffer long-term...
Potentialities and constraints in the relation between social innovation and public policies: some lessons from South America
11. Oktober 2017 Gordon, A., Becerra, L. D., Fressoli, M. Insight
Social innovation (SI) can offer alternative forms of organization and novel solutions to complex problems faced by contemporary societies. As governments face increasing pressures from mounting societal challenges, it is assumed that SI can provide bottom-up solutions in ways that can create transformative change. However, the dialectic relation between bottom-up initiatives and government can be difficult and sometimes contradictory. Even more, assumptions about the diminishing powers of government can be misleading and overstress the role of SI. Based on the study of the recent South...
Who's in charge here anyway? Polycentric governance configurations and the development of policy on invasive alien species in the semisovereign Caribbean
11. Oktober 2017 Vaas, J., Driessen, P. P. J., Giezen, M., Van Laerhoven, F., Wassen, M. J. Research
We address the development of policy by polycentric governance configurations, taking Caribbean overseas territories and their advancements on invasive alien species (IAS) policy as an example. The British, Dutch, and French islands in the Caribbean address this matter to different degrees, which we analyzed through differences in their type of polycentric governance configuration with their respective European counterpart. We employ a continuum ranging from predominantly polycentric to predominantly monocentric governance configurations to characterize the three case studies. Based on...
Walkerton revisited: how our psychological defenses may influence responses to water crises
29. September 2017 Cote, S. A., Ross, H. C., David, K., Wolfe, S. E. Research
When the drinking water in Walkerton, Ontario (2000) was contaminated—sending 65 people to hospital and killing seven people—outrage and recriminations quickly reached the provincial Parliament and Toronto media outlets. But beyond the politics and policy, Walkerton illustrated something more fundamental to the human condition. We used the Walkerton case to examine how the media crisis coverage used negatively charged and fear emotions to engage their readers about the contamination of Walkerton’s water. Using the terror management theory (TMT) framework and content...
Sustainability science as if the world mattered: sketching an art contribution by comparison
27. September 2017 Pr?pper, M. H. Insight
Here, I investigate some of the potential contributions of art to the emerging field of sustainability science. First, the involvement of sustainability thinking in art is massively increasing. Second, there is a line of interactions between art and science that do not necessarily take sustainability as their content, at least in an ecological sense. Third, there are a considerable number of examples of sustainability science projects that are intended to link knowledge to social action without involving art. I exemplarily compare these different combinations to gain a concise overview of...
Capturing change: the duality of time-lapse imagery to acquire data and depict ecological dynamics
27. September 2017 Brinley Buckley, E. M., Allen, C. R., Forsberg, M., Farrell, M., Caven, A. J. Insight
We investigate the scientific and communicative value of time-lapse imagery by exploring applications for data collection and visualization. Time-lapse imagery has a myriad of possible applications to study and depict ecosystems and can operate at unique temporal and spatial scales to bridge the gap between large-scale satellite imagery projects and observational field research. Time-lapse data sequences, linking time-lapse imagery with data visualization, have the ability to make data come alive for a wider audience by connecting abstract numbers to images that root data in time and place...
Response to: “Everything revolves around the herring”: the Heiltsuk-herring relationship through time. 2017. Gauvreau, A. M., D. Lepofsky, M. Rutherford, and M. Reid.
27. September 2017 Gauvreau, A. M., Lepofsky, D., Rutherford, M., Reid, M. Response
Specificities of French community gardens as environmental stewardships
20. September 2017 Torres, A. Cristina, Nadot, S., Pr?vot, A. Research
Community-based efforts are essential to address urban social–ecological challenges. Here, we focus on French community gardens. Through participant observation and semistructured interviews, this study seeks to provide empirical evidence on: (1) what motivates volunteer gardeners in French community gardens to undertake this activity, (2) what practices take place in the gardens, and (3) which individual and collective processes are associated with gardeners' experiences in the gardens. Through these questions, we aim to understand how these initiatives relate to...
Explaining the persistence of low income and environmentally degrading land uses in the Brazilian Amazon
19. September 2017 Garrett, R. D., Gardner, T. A., Morello, T. Fonseca, Marchand, S., Barlow, J., Ezzine de Blas, D., Ferreira, J., Lees, A. C., Parry, L. Research
Tropical forests continue to be plagued by the dual sustainability challenges of deforestation and rural poverty. We seek to understand why many of the farmers living in the Brazilian Amazon, home to the world’s largest tropical agricultural-forest frontier, persist in agricultural activities associated with low incomes and high environmental damage. To answer this question, we assess the factors that shape the development and distribution of agricultural activities and farmer well-being in these frontiers. Our study utilizes a uniquely comprehensive social-ecological dataset from...
Integration of the ecosystem services concept in planning documents from six municipalities in southwestern Sweden
18. September 2017 Nordin, A. C., Hanson, H. I., Alkan Olsson, J. Research
The ecosystem services (ES) concept refers to benefits that humanity receives from nature. Investigating how this concept has been embraced within urban planning is important when assessing the awareness of human dependence on natural functions and the potential for the ES concept to increase this awareness. We analyzed planning documents from three small and three large municipalities in southern Sweden to see how explicitly the ES concept was addressed and which individual services were mentioned. We found that five of the municipalities mentioned the ES concept explicitly and the...
Integrating social science into empirical models of coupled human and natural systems
18. September 2017 Kline, J. D., White, E. M., Fischer, A. Paige, Steen-Adams, M. M., Charnley, S., Olsen, C. S., Spies, T. A., Bailey, J. D. Research
Coupled human and natural systems (CHANS) research highlights reciprocal interactions (or feedbacks) between biophysical and socioeconomic variables to explain system dynamics and resilience. Empirical models often are used to test hypotheses and apply theory that represent human behavior. Parameterizing reciprocal interactions presents two challenges for social scientists: (1) how to represent human behavior as influenced by biophysical factors and integrate this into CHANS empirical models; (2) how to organize and function as a multidisciplinary social science team to accomplish that...
Biodiversity conservation in a telecoupled world
14. September 2017 Carrasco, L., Chan, J., McGrath, F. L., Nghiem, L. T. P. Synthesis
The environmental and socioeconomic interactions between distant regions of the world (“telecoupling”) are dramatically increasing. Telecoupling brings about new challenges and opportunities to biodiversity conservation that are of a larger magnitude and of a faster pace than ever observed before. Our understanding of the dynamics and leverage points of this telecoupled world is however limited. It is thus important to take stock of what we know and what we still need to know to formulate effective biodiversity conservation policies with telecoupling increasing. We identify...
Historical perspective on the influence of wildfire policy, law, and informal institutions on management and forest resilience in a multiownership, frequent-fire, coupled human and natural system in...
11. September 2017 Steen-Adams, M. M., Charnley, S., Adams, M. D. Research
We examine the influence of wildfire institutions on management and forest resilience over time, drawing on research from a multiownership, frequent-fire, coupled human and natural system (CHANS) in the eastern Cascades of Oregon, USA. We constructed social-ecological histories of the study area’s three main landowner groups (national forest, private corporate, and tribal) using a historical framework (1905–2010). Our findings highlight two infrequently recognized linkages of multiownership, frequent-fire CHANS: (1) informal institutions (e.g., cultural norms, knowledge system...
Maintaining experiences of nature as a city grows
07. September 2017 Sushinsky, J. R., Rhodes, J. R., Shanahan, D. F., Possingham, H. P., Fuller, R. A. Research
Experiences of nature contribute to human health and well-being, yet as the world’s population continues to concentrate in towns and cities there is mounting concern that these experiences are diminishing. Despite this, little is known about how we can maintain experiences of nature as cities grow. Here, we quantify how people’s opportunities to experience nature might change with future urban growth in the city of Brisbane, Australia. We simulated the addition of 84,642 houses under compact and sprawling growth scenarios and modeled changes in people’s opportunities to...

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