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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.
Creating legal rights for rivers: lessons from Australia, New Zealand, and India
15. Januar 2018 O'Donnell, E. L., Talbot-Jones, J. Research
As pressures on water resources increase, the demand for innovative institutional arrangements, which address the overuse of water, and underprovision of ecosystem health, is rising. One new and emerging approach is the use of legal personality to protect water systems in law through the granting of legal rights to rivers. This constitutes a significant development in the fields of environmental law and water resources management, yet little analysis is available of how the approach has been used and applied. We critically examine the new legal rights for rivers using three case studies...
Learning from collaborative research on sustainably managing fresh water: implications for ethical research–practice engagement
15. Januar 2018 Ayre, M. L., Wallis, P. J., Daniell, K. A. Research
Since the mid-2000s, there has been increasing recognition of the promise of collaborative research and management for addressing complex issues in sustainably managing fresh water. A large variety of collaborative freshwater research and management processes is now evident around the world. However, how collective knowledge development, coproduction, or cocreation is carried out in an ethical manner is less well known. From the literature and our experiences as applied, transdisciplinary researchers and natural resource management practitioners, we seek to describe and explore these...
Systematic evaluation of scenario assessments supporting sustainable integrated natural resources management: evidence from four case studies in Africa
15. Januar 2018 Reinhardt, J., Liersch, S., Abdeladhim, M. Arbi, Diallo, M., Dickens, C., Fournet, S., Hattermann, F. Fokko, Kabaseke, C., Muhumuza, M., Mul, M. L., Pilz, T., Otto, I. M., Walz, A. Research
Scenarios have become a key tool for supporting sustainability research on regional and global change. In this study we evaluate four regional scenario assessments: first, to explore a number of research challenges related to sustainability science and, second, to contribute to sustainability research in the specific case studies. The four case studies used commonly applied scenario approaches that are (i) a story and simulation approach with stakeholder participation in the Oum Zessar watershed, Tunisia, (ii) a participatory scenario exploration in the Rwenzori region, Uganda, (iii) a...
Introduction to the Special Feature Practicing Panarchy: Assessing legal flexibility, ecological resilience, and adaptive governance in regional water systems experiencing rapid environmental change
11. Januar 2018 Cosens, B. A., Gunderson, L., Chaffin, B. C. Guest Editorial
This special feature presents articles on the cross-scale interactions among law, ecosystem dynamics, and governance to address the adaptive capacity of six watersheds in the United States as they respond to rapid environmental change. We build on work that assesses resilience and transformation in riverine and wetland social-ecological systems across the United States at a variety of scales, levels of development, and degrees of degradation, focusing specifically on the Anacostia River, Central Platte River, Klamath River, Columbia River, Middle Rio Grand River, and the Everglades...
Quantifying uncertainty and trade-offs in resilience assessments
11. Januar 2018 Allen, C. R., Birge, H. E., Angeler, D. G., Arnold, C. Anthony (Tony), Chaffin, B. C., DeCaro, D. A., Garmestani, A. S., Gunderson, L. Insight
Several frameworks have been developed to assess the resilience of social-ecological systems, but most require substantial data inputs, time, and technical expertise. Stakeholders and practitioners often lack the resources for such intensive efforts. Furthermore, most end with problem framing and fail to explicitly address trade-offs and uncertainty. To remedy this gap, we developed a rapid survey assessment that compares the relative resilience of social-ecological systems with respect to a number of resilience properties. This approach generates large amounts of information relative to...
The agrarian metabolism as a tool for assessing agrarian sustainability, and its application to Spanish agriculture (1960-2008)
11. Januar 2018 Guzm?n, G. I., Aguilera, E., Garc?a-Ruiz, R., Torremocha, E., Soto-Fern?ndez, D., Infante-Amate, J., Gonz?lez de Molina, M. Research
Agrarian metabolism applies the social metabolism framework to agriculture. It focuses on the study of the exchange of material and energy flows between a society and its environment for producing useful biomass. These flows must maintain the fund elements of the agroecosystem in sufficient quantity and of sufficient quality for them to continue providing ecosystem services. This methodology was applied to Spanish agriculture between 1960 and 2008, a period characterized by a deep process of intensification based on external inputs (EIs). We specifically focused on nitrogen (N), phosphorus...
Adaptive pathways and coupled infrastructure: seven centuries of adaptation to water risk and the production of vulnerability in Mexico City
11. Januar 2018 Tellman, B., Bausch, J. C., Eakin, H., Anderies, J. M., Mazari-Hiriart, M., Manuel-Navarrete, D., Redman, C. L. Research
Infrastructure development is central to the processes that abate and produce vulnerabilities in cities. Urban actors, especially those with power and authority, perceive and interpret vulnerability and decide when and how to adapt. When city managers use infrastructure to reduce urban risk in the complex, interconnected city system, new fragilities are introduced because of inherent system feedbacks. We trace the interactions between system dynamics and decision-making processes over 700 years of Mexico City’s adaptations to water risks, focusing on the decision cycles of public...
Managing ecosystems without prior knowledge: pathological outcomes of lake liming
30. Dezember 2017 Angeler, D. G., Drakare, S., Johnson, R. K., K?hler, S., Vrede, T. Research
Management actions often need to be taken in the absence of ecological information to mitigate the impact of pressing environmental problems. Managers counteracted the detrimental effects of cultural acidification on aquatic ecosystems during the industrial era using liming to salvage biodiversity and ecosystem services. However, historical contingencies, i.e., whether lakes were naturally acidic or degraded because of acidification, were largely unknown and therefore not accounted for in management. It is uncertain whether liming outcomes had a potentially detrimental effect on naturally...
Exploring intrinsic, instrumental, and relational values for sustainable management of social-ecological systems
21. Dezember 2017 Arias-Ar?valo, P., Mart?n-L?pez, B., G?mez-Baggethun, E. Research
The values (i.e., importance) that people place on ecosystems have been identified as a crucial dimension of sustainable management of social-ecological systems. Recently, the call for integrating plural values of ecosystems beyond intrinsic and instrumental values has prompted the notion of “relational values.” With the aim of contributing to environmental management, we assess the environmental motivations (i.e., egoistic, biospheric, altruistic) and values that people attribute to the ecosystems of the mid-upper stream of the Otún River watershed, central Andes...
Transforming (perceived) rigidity in environmental law through adaptive governance: a case of Endangered Species Act implementation
18. Dezember 2017 Gosnell, H., Chaffin, B. C., Ruhl, J., Arnold, C. (Tony), Craig, R. K., Benson, M. H., Devenish, A. Research
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is often portrayed as a major source of instability and crisis in river basins of the U.S. West, where the needs of listed fish species frequently clash with agriculture dependent on federal irrigation projects subject to ESA Section 7 prohibitions on federal agency actions likely to jeopardize listed species or adversely modify critical habitat. Scholarship on Section 7 characterizes the process as unwaveringly rigid, the legal “hammer” forcing federal agencies to consider endangered species’ needs when proposing operations and management...
Game-changers and transformative social innovation
12. Dezember 2017 Avelino, F., Wittmayer, J. M., Kemp, R., Haxeltine, A. Guest Editorial
This editorial introduces the special feature on the role of game-changers, broadly conceptualized as macro-trends that change the “rules of the game,” in processes of transformative social innovation. First, the key concepts are introduced together with the academic workshop that brought together 25 scholars, from across a wide range of disciplines, to discuss the role of game-changers in transformative social innovation, resulting in the 9 contributions in this special feature. Second, the differing conceptualizations of the role of game-changers in transformative social...
A framework for modeling adaptive forest management and decision making under climate change
12. Dezember 2017 Yousefpour, R., Temperli, C., Jacobsen, J., Thorsen, B., Meilby, H., Lexer, M. J., Lindner, M., Bugmann, H., Borges, J. G., Palma, J. H. N., Ray, D., Zimmermann, N. E., Delzon, S., Kremer, A., Kramer, K., Reyer, C. P. O., Lasch-Born, P., Garcia-Gonzalo, J., Hanewinkel, M. Synthesis
Adapting the management of forest resources to climate change involves addressing several crucial aspects to provide a valid basis for decision making. These include the knowledge and belief of decision makers, the mapping of management options for the current as well as anticipated future bioclimatic and socioeconomic conditions, and the ways decisions are evaluated and made. We investigate the adaptive management process and develop a framework including these three aspects, thus providing a structured way to analyze the challenges and opportunities of managing forests in the face of...
Socio-environmental drought response in a mixed urban-agricultural setting: synthesizing biophysical and governance responses in the Platte River Watershed, Nebraska, USA
07. Dezember 2017 Zipper, S. C., Helm Smith, K., Breyer, B., Qiu, J., Kung, A., Herrmann, D. Research
Ensuring global food and water security requires a detailed understanding of how coupled socio-environmental systems respond to drought. Using the Platte River Watershed in Nebraska (USA) as an exemplar mixed urban-agricultural watershed, we quantify biophysical response to drought in urban (Lincoln NE) and agricultural systems alongside a qualitative analysis of governance response and adaptive capacity of both sectors. Synthesis of results highlights parallels and discontinuities between urban and agricultural preparations for and response to drought. Whereas drought prompted an increase...
Forest ecosystem-service transitions: the ecological dimensions of the forest transition
07. Dezember 2017 Wilson, S. Jane, Schelhas, J., Grau, R., Nanni, A. Sof?a, Sloan, S. Synthesis
New forests are expanding around the world. In many regions, regrowth rates are surpassing deforestation rates, resulting in “forest transitions,” or net gains in forest cover. Typically measured only in terms of aggregate“'forest cover” change, these new forests are ecologically distinct from each other and from those originally cleared. We ask, what are the ecological attributes, goods, and services we might expect from different pathways of forest recovery? To address this question, we proposed a typology of forest transitions that reflects both their social...
Women's local knowledge of water resources and adaptation to landscape change in the mountains of Veracruz, Mexico
06. Dezember 2017 Kernecker, M., Vogl, C., Aguilar Mel?ndez, A. Research
Rural development shaped by global pressures aims to improve livelihoods and market access in remote communities. However, rural development measures can alter landscapes, and change the embedded natural resources and access to them. In Mexico, rural women and their livelihoods are frequently most affected by changes in water resources. This study focused on women in Coatitil?n, a small community (population 255) in the mountains of Veracruz, Mexico. A road construction project blocked the main pipe that distributes water throughout the community. Also, river water was unusable for women...
Wild mammals as economic goods and implications for their conservation
06. Dezember 2017 Boesch, L., Mundry, R., K?hl, H. S., Berger, R. Research
In social-ecological systems, human activities and animal distribution are interrelated. Any effort at studying wildlife abundance therefore requires the integration of detailed socioeconomic context into species distribution models. Wild mammals have always been an important resource for humankind, and concepts of economic goods provide an analytical framework to deduce relevant socioeconomic factors that shape wild mammal–human relationships and consequences for the spatial distribution patterns of wild mammals. We estimated the effects of the human population on wild mammals in a...
Trends in bushmeat trade in a postconflict forest town: implications for food security
05. Dezember 2017 Van Vliet, N., Schulte-Herbr?ggen, B., Muhindo, J., Nebesse, C., Gambalemoke, S., Nasi, R. Research
Food insecurity and malnutrition can be major, yet often overlooked, consequences of armed conflicts because of the disruption of rural-urban trade networks and human migration toward safe urban centers. Bushmeat has been shown to act as an important safety net for conflict-affected urban populations, contributing the provisioning of basic needs and postconflict peace building efforts. However, the widely documented unsustainability of bushmeat hunting questions whether reliance of an urban population on bushmeat can be sustained for prolonged periods. To assess the potential contribution...
Gendered forests: exploring gender dimensions in forest governance and REDD+ in Équateur Province, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
05. Dezember 2017 Samndong, R., Kjosavik, D. Jose Research
In this study we analyze gender relations legitimatized by socio-political institutions of forest governance in REDD+ pilots in ?quateur Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Using data from interviews, focus group discussions, and field observations, we show that men and women have different knowledge and use of forests, but these differences are not given due consideration in forest governance. Women’s voices are often muted in decision-making arenas and they occupy only a nominal position in both forestry and development initiatives as compared with men. This status quo is...
Sámi reindeer governance in Norway as competing knowledge systems: a participatory study
04. Dezember 2017 Johnsen, K. I., Mathiesen, S. D., Eira, I. Gaup Research
Using a participatory research approach, we assess the knowledge systems and political ontology of reindeer husbandry. The study was conducted by a mixed team of scientists and Sámi reindeer herders who practiced reindeer husbandry in West Finnmark, northern Norway, both prior to and during the state-led “rationalization” of Sámi reindeer husbandry since the late 1970s. The analysis is based on the participants’ reindeer herding knowledge and their assessment of the governance of Sámi pastoralism. Two future narratives (scenarios) were used to stimulate...
Transforming governance in telecoupled food systems
24. November 2017 Eakin, H., Rueda, X., Mahanti, A. Research
In this paper we analyze how new actors, interests, and resources become salient to food system governance and how the domain of food system governance transforms as a result. Specifically, we focus on how the boundaries of food systems are redefined and new institutions are developed through the explicit recognition of distal interactions and feedbacks—telecoupling—operating in the food system space. Telecoupling can stimulate new forms of governance, such as the development of codes of conduct and certification schemes, with positive impacts on food and livelihood security...

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