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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.
Integrating Ecological and Social Knowledge: Learning from CHANS Research
24. Februar 2017 Shindler, B., Spies, T. A., Bolte, J. P., Kline, J. D. Research
Scientists are increasingly called upon to integrate across ecological and social disciplines to tackle complex coupled human and natural system (CHANS) problems. Integration of these disciplines is challenging and many scientists do not have experience with large integrated research projects. However, much can be learned about the complicated process of integration from such efforts. We document some of these lessons from a National Science Foundation-funded CHANS project (Forests, People, Fire) and present considerations for developing and engaging in coupled human and natural system...
Using an agent-based model to examine forest management outcomes in a fire-prone landscape in Oregon, USA
24. Februar 2017 Spies, T. A., White, E., Ager, A., Kline, J. D., Bolte, J. P., Platt, E. K., Olsen, K. A., Pabst, R. J., Barros, A. M.G., Bailey, J. D., Charnley, S., Koch, J., Steen-Adams, M. M., Singleton, P. H., Sulzman, J., Schwartz, C., Csuti, B. Research
Fire-prone landscapes present many challenges for both managers and policy makers in developing adaptive behaviors and institutions. We used a coupled human and natural systems framework and an agent-based landscape model to examine how alternative management scenarios affect fire and ecosystem services metrics in a fire-prone multiownership landscape in the eastern Cascades of Oregon. Our model incorporated existing models of vegetation succession and fire spread and information from original empirical studies of landowner decision making. Our findings indicate that alternative management...
Spatiotemporal dynamics of simulated wildfire, forest management, and forest succession in central Oregon, USA
24. Februar 2017 Barros, A. M. G., Ager, A. A., Day, M. A., Preisler, H. K., Spies, T. A., White, E., Pabst, R. J., Olsen, K. A., Platt, E., Bailey, J. D., Bolte, J. P. Research
We use the simulation model Envision to analyze long-term wildfire dynamics and the effects of different fuel management scenarios in central Oregon, USA. We simulated a 50-year future where fuel management activities were increased by doubling and tripling the current area treated while retaining existing treatment strategies in terms of spatial distribution and treatment type. We modeled forest succession using a state-and-transition approach and simulated wildfires based on the contemporary fire regime of the region. We tested for the presence of temporal trends and overall differences...
Capacity to adapt to environmental change: evidence from a network of organizations concerned with increasing wildfire risk
24. Februar 2017 Fischer, A. Paige, Jasny, L. Research
Because wildfire size and frequency are expected to increase in many forested areas in the United States, organizations involved in forest and wildfire management could arguably benefit from working together and sharing information to develop strategies for how to adapt to this increasing risk. Social capital theory suggests that actors in cohesive networks are positioned to build trust and mutual understanding of problems and act collectively to address these problems, and that actors engaged with diverse partners are positioned to access new information and resources that are important...
Diversity in forest management to reduce wildfire losses: implications for resilience
23. Februar 2017 Charnley, S., Spies, T. A., Barros, A. M. G., White, E. M., Olsen, K. A. Research
This study investigates how federal, state, and private corporate forest owners in a fire-prone landscape of southcentral Oregon manage their forests to reduce wildfire hazard and loss to high-severity wildfire. We evaluate the implications of our findings for concepts of social–ecological resilience. Using interview data, we found a high degree of "response diversity" (variation in forest management decisions and behaviors to reduce wildfire losses) between and within actor groups. This response diversity contributed to heterogeneous forest conditions across the landscape and was...
Examining the influence of biophysical conditions on wildland–urban interface homeowners’ wildfire risk mitigation activities in fire-prone landscapes
23. Februar 2017 Olsen, C. S., Kline, J. D., Ager, A. A., Olsen, K. A., Short, K. C. Research
Expansion of the wildland–urban interface (WUI) and the increasing size and number of wildfires has policy-makers and wildfire managers seeking ways to reduce wildfire risk in communities located near fire-prone forests. It is widely acknowledged that homeowners can reduce their exposure to wildfire risk by using nonflammable building materials and reducing tree density near the home, among other actions. Although these actions can reduce the vulnerability of homes to wildfire, many homeowners do not take them. We examined the influence of risk factors on homeowners’ perceived...
A distribution analysis of the central Maya lowlands ecoinformation network: its rises, falls, and changes
10. Februar 2017 Gunn, J. D., Scarborough, V. L., Folan, W. J., Isendahl, C., Chase, A. F., Sabloff, J. A., Volta, B. Research
We report a study of central Maya lowland dynastic information networks, i.e., six cities’ external elite ceramic influences, and how they reflect the decision-making practices of Maya elites over 3000 years. Forest cover, i.e., Moraceae family pollen, was added to the network analysis to provide ecological boundary conditions, thus ecologically moderated information networks. Principal components analysis revealed three dominant patterns. First, the networking of interior cities into powerful polities in the Late Preclassic and Classic periods (400 BCE-800 CE). In a second pattern...
A life course approach to understanding social drivers of rangeland conversion
09. Februar 2017 Hurst, K. F., Ramsdell, C. Paxton, Sorice, M. G. Research
Grassland to woodland conversion, also known as woody plant encroachment (WPE), is a global-scale phenomena caused in large part by changes in social processes that affect rural land use patterns. Woody plant encroachment has raised serious concerns for species conservation, provision of ecosystem services, and viability of rural livelihoods and cultures. We examined the social drivers of WPE using a case study of rangelands in a semi-arid watershed. We employed the life course framework to understand how ranchers have made land ranch management decisions in the context of time, culture...
Social-ecological enabling conditions for payments for ecosystem services
09. Februar 2017 Huber-Stearns, H. R., Bennett, D. E., Posner, S., Richards, R. C., Fair, J. Hoyle, Cousins, S. J. M., Romulo, C. L. Synthesis
The concept of “enabling conditions” centers on conditions that facilitate approaches to addressing social and ecological challenges. Although multiple fields have independently addressed the concept of enabling conditions, the literature lacks a shared understanding or integration of concepts. We propose a more synthesized understanding of enabling conditions beyond disciplinary boundaries by focusing on the enabling conditions that influence the implementation of a range of environmental policies termed payments for ecosystem services (PES). Through an analysis of key...
Stakeholders’ frames and ecosystem service use in the context of a debate over rebuilding or removing a dam in New Brunswick, Canada
09. Februar 2017 Reilly, K. H., Adamowski, J. F. Research
As many dams are starting to reach the end of their life spans, discussions about whether they should be retained or removed are becoming more common. Such debates are often controversial, but little is known about stakeholders’ opinions about the issue. We use frame theory to describe how stakeholders perceive a decision on the future of the Mactaquac Dam in New Brunswick, Canada. Frames describe how people make sense of a situation by determining what is important and inside the frame, and what is outside the frame, based on their past experiences and knowledge. We explore whether...
Reconciling biodiversity conservation and agricultural expansion in the subarctic environment of Iceland
09. Februar 2017 J?hannesd?ttir, L., Alves, J. A., Gill, J. A., Gunnarsson, T. G. Research
Intensified agricultural practices have driven biodiversity loss throughout the world, and although many actions aimed at halting and reversing these declines have been developed, their effectiveness depends greatly on the willingness of stakeholders to take part in conservation management. Knowledge of the willingness and capacity of landowners to engage with conservation can therefore be key to designing successful management strategies in agricultural land. In Iceland, agriculture is currently at a relatively low intensity but is very likely to expand in the near future. At the same...
Small-scale societies and environmental transformations: coevolutionary dynamics
08. Februar 2017 Reyes-Garc?a, V., Zurro, D., Caro, J., Madella, M. Guest Editorial
This editorial introduces the special feature of Ecology and Society entitled Small-Scale Societies and Environmental Transformations: Coevolutionary Dynamics. The contributions to this feature explore coevolutionary dynamics developed between small-scale societies and environmental features and the larger-scale effects of these interactions in spatial and chronological terms. Acknowledging the importance of small-scale societies in our evolutionary past and nowadays, contributions to this issue use insights from both archaeological and anthropological case studies, concepts, and methods...
Key features for more successful place-based sustainability research on social-ecological systems: a Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) perspective
07. Februar 2017 Balvanera, P., Daw, T. M., Gardner, T. A., Mart?n-L?pez, B., Norstr?m, A. V., Ifejika Speranza, C., Spierenburg, M., Bennett, E. M., Farfan, M., Hamann, M., Kittinger, J. N., Luthe, T., Maass, M., Peterson, G. D., Perez-Verdin, G. Research
The emerging discipline of sustainability science is focused explicitly on the dynamic interactions between nature and society and is committed to research that spans multiple scales and can support transitions toward greater sustainability. Because a growing body of place-based social-ecological sustainability research (PBSESR) has emerged in recent decades, there is a growing need to understand better how to maximize the effectiveness of this work. The Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) provides a unique opportunity for synthesizing insights gained from this research...
Misreading a pastoral property regime in the Logone floodplain, Cameroon
03. Februar 2017 Moritz, M. Response
This is a response to an article by Haller et al. (2013) in Ecology and Society titled “How fit turns into misfit and back: institutional transformations of pastoral commons in African floodplains.” In this response, I argue that Haller et al.’s description of the pastoralists’ management of common-pool grazing resources in the Logone floodplain of Cameroon is incorrect in a number of ways. I summarize the findings from our longitudinal and interdisciplinary study to show that current pastoralists’ management of common-pool grazing resources in the floodplain...
Are adaptations self-organized, autonomous, and harmonious? Assessing the social–ecological resilience literature
29. Januar 2017 Hahn, T., Nykvist, B. Research
The paper analyzes how adaptability (adaptive capacity and adaptations) is constructed in the literature on resilience of social–ecological systems (SES). According to some critics, this literature views adaptability as the capacity of SES to self-organize in an autonomous harmonious consensus-building process, ignoring strategies, conflicting goals, and power issues. We assessed 183 papers, coding two dimensions of adaptability: autonomous vs. intentional and descriptive vs. normative. We found a plurality of framings, where 51% of the papers perceived adaptability as autonomous...
IPBES, an inclusive institution? Challenging the integration of stakeholders in a science-policy interface
19. Januar 2017 Oubenal, M., Hrabanski, M., Pesche, D. Research
The International Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) was launched in 2012. Its objective is to strengthen the science-policy interface for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, long-term human well-being, and sustainable development. Nonstate Actors (NSAs) participated in the inception of the platform and are also assumed to play a key role in its coming assessments and reports. In order to encourage NSAs to participate and self-organize, an institutional process has been led by the Secretariat in collaboration with two main organizations...
Social networks and the resilience of rural communities in the Global South: a critical review and conceptual reflections
17. Januar 2017 Rockenbauch, T., Sakdapolrak, P. Synthesis
In the last decades, a growing scholarship has outlined the crucial role of social networks as a source of resilience. However, with regard to the Global South, the role of social networks for the resilience of rural communities remains an under-researched and underconceptualized issue, because research remains scattered between different strands and has rarely been integrated from a resilience perspective. To provide common ground for the exchange between disciplines and to identify steps towards a more comprehensive social network perspective on the resilience of rural communities in the...
Identifying opportunities to improve governance of aquatic agricultural systems through participatory action research
16. Januar 2017 Apgar, J. Marina, Cohen, P. J., Ratner, B. D., De Silva, S., Buisson, M., Longley, C., Bastakoti, R. C., Mapedza, E. Research
Challenges of governance often constitute critical obstacles to efforts to equitably improve livelihoods in social-ecological systems. Yet, just as often, these challenges go unspoken, or are viewed as fixed parts of the context, beyond the scope of influence of agricultural, development, or natural resource management initiatives. What does it take to get governance obstacles and opportunities out in the open, creating the space for constructive dialogue and collective action that can help to address them? We respond to this question by comparing experiences of participatory action...
Resilient but not sustainable? Public perceptions of shale gas development via hydraulic fracturing
16. Januar 2017 Evensen, D., Stedman, R., Brown-Steiner, B. Research
Complex energy development, such as associated with extraction and processing of shale gas, may affect the future sustainability and resilience of the small, often rural communities where development occurs. A difficulty for understanding the connection between sustainability, resilience, and shale gas development (hereafter “SGD”) is that definitions of sustainability and resilience are often muddled and unclear. Nevertheless, the ways in which development could affect sustainability and resilience have been discussed and contested in academic literature. Little is known...
Making sense of environmental values: a typology of concepts
16. Januar 2017 Tadaki, M., Sinner, J., Chan, K. M. A. Synthesis
Debates about environmental values and valuation are perplexing, in part because these terms are used in vastly different ways in a variety of contexts. For some, quantifying human and ecological values is promoted as a useful technical exercise that can support decision-making. Others spurn environmental valuation, equating it with reducing ethics to numbers or “putting a price tag on nature.” We make sense of these complexities by distilling four fundamental concepts of value (and valuation) from across the literature. These four concepts—value as a magnitude of...

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