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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.
From ordinary environmentalism to the public environment: theoretical reflections based on French and European empirical research
16. September 2019 Blanc, N. Insight
Ecological transformations involve citizen mobilization and the cultural transformation of relationships with the environment. Rather than social movements, we need to see them more as social–environmental communities. They are formed through joint action on the material environment, underpinned by solidarity and conflicts of territoriality in which human collectives associate with living matter and the environment to battle other uses of space. The environment as a collective work then becomes a self-sustaining basis for action that boosts the competence and legitimacy of the actors...
Sustainable rural renewal in China: archetypical patterns
16. September 2019 Wang, R., Eisenack, K., Tan, R. Research
Against the backdrop of rural deprivation during the rapid urbanization of China since the end of the previous century, rural renewal has been regarded as a vital strategy for facilitating rural sustainability. Rural renewal in contemporary China involves activities that replan, consolidate, and redevelop the extant and idle rural construction land and then convert such land for alternative uses, including new rural settlement construction and rural industry development. However, given the regionally decentralized authoritarian (RDA) regime of China, i.e., a combination of political...
On the creeping increase of vessels’ fishing power
16. September 2019 Palomares, M. L. D., Pauly, D. Research
This contribution presents a synthesis, via a semilogarithmic regression, of estimates of the slow increase of technological efficiency, or “creep factor,” as estimated by various authors for a number of demersal and pelagic fisheries. This factor is used in fisheries science to adjust for the gradual increase in the effectiveness of fishing gear resulting from the successive introduction of technological improvement to fishing gear and vessels. Altogether, 51 estimates of this creep factor, mostly around 2–4%/yr and covering periods from 4 to 129 yr, were assembled or...
Development of social-ecological conceptual models as the basis for an integrated ecosystem assessment framework in Southeast Alaska
13. September 2019 Rosellon-Druker, J., Szymkowiak, M., Cunningham, C. J., Kasperski, S., Kruse, G. H., Moss, J. H., Yasumiishi, E. M. Research
Integrated ecosystem assessment (IEA) is a framework that organizes and summarizes science to aid in the transition from a traditional single sector toward a holistic management approach known as ecosystem-based management (EBM). An essential step of the IEA framework is the development of conceptual models. These models allow the integration of intrinsically linked social, environmental, and biological components of marine ecosystems that is pivotal to address unsolved questions in fisheries management. We constructed social-ecological conceptual models of relevant commercial and...
Rethinking resource allocation in science
11. September 2019 Bollen, J., Carpenter, S. R., Lubchenco, J., Scheffer, M. Invited Manuscripts
Many funding agencies rely on grant proposal peer review to allocate scientific funding, i.e., researchers compete for funding by submitting proposals that are reviewed and ranked by committees of their peers. Only a fraction of applicants are awarded the requested funds. This system has a long and venerable tradition, but it is increasingly struggling to handle the larger number of applications, suffers from high levels of administrative overhead, may be unreliable in separating successful from unsuccessful projects, and may suffer from bias against innovative ideas, young researchers...
Collaboration and conflict in complex water governance systems across a development gradient: addressing common challenges and solutions
11. September 2019 Mancilla Garc?a, M., Hileman, J., Bodin, ?. Guest Editorial
Multilevel water quality management in the international Rhine catchment area: how to establish social-ecological fit through collaborative governance
09. September 2019 Widmer, A., Herzog, L., Moser, A., Ingold, K. Research
One major challenge of water quality management is that the source of pollution and its effects might be spatially disentangled. This cause-effect misfit has large implications on how surface water in a hydrological catchment area is managed and regulated. We argue in this paper that such misfit can best be addressed through interconnected and multilevel collaborative arrangements that support institutional capacity building. In line with recent literature, we presume that social-ecological fit can be enhanced through direct collaboration among actors managing the same or interconnected...
What is governance in global telecoupling?
04. September 2019 Newig, J., Lenschow, A., Challies, E., Cotta, B., Schilling-Vacaflor, A. Response
The concept of telecoupling is increasingly used as a framework to understand globally distant interconnections and their sustainability implications. Although there is a growing research focus on issues of governance related to global telecoupling, there appears little consensus over the meaning of “governance” in this respect. Papers in the recent Ecology and Society special feature titled “Telecoupling: A New Frontier for Global Sustainability” reveal quite different understandings of the telecoupling-governance relationship. We want to suggest that greater...
Practical use of full-spectrum sustainability in the Bay of Fundy
04. September 2019 Jones, O. P., Stephenson, R. L. Insight
It is increasingly recognized that sustainability is composed of four key components: environmental, economic, social (including cultural), and institutional (or governance). Fisheries and coastal management systems, however, are heavily weighted toward biophysical and ecological aspects, thus leaving the “human dimension,” i.e., social, economic, and institutional, relatively neglected. Full-spectrum sustainability (FSS) is an approach to resource management that aims to address this imbalance. Management plans are beginning to include elements of FSS, yet there are very few...
Systemic coordination and the problem of seasonal harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie
28. August 2019 Berardo, R., Turner, V., Rice, S. Research
The management of natural resources may potentially be improved when governance structures in social-ecological systems enable coordination among multiple actors who may operate on the same or different geographic and/or governmental scales. In this article, we analyze the network of formal coordination ties that link governmental and nongovernmental actors in the Maumee River watershed, which is the largest source of phosphorus loading into Lake Erie, one of the five Laurentian Great Lakes of North America. Since the 1990s, Lake Erie has seen a return of the seasonal harmful algal blooms...
Branding Wakatobi: marine development and legitimation by science
26. August 2019 Tam, C. Research
Marine protected areas (MPAs) serve as a potential defense against marine degradation, meeting the conflicting priorities and needs of multiple actors. Biodiversity, conservation, and ecotourism constitute a triad of sustainability tropes in tropical MPAs that intersect with and reinterpret local histories of marine interaction, subsistence, and commercial extraction. Science is implicated in this production of resource space, with the state and other actors conscripting science to legitimate particular visions of sustainability. A content and discourse analysis of science-based...
Bright spots among lakes in the Rideau Valley Watershed, Ontario
26. August 2019 Garrah, J., Frei, B., Bennett, E. M. Research
Water quality, of critical importance to the ecological and social health of lake ecosystems, is maintained through complex interactions within lakes as well as between lakes and their watersheds. Often, water quality is managed by working toward improved water clarity, however, our ability to predict water clarity, and to manage lakes for it, is not always as successful as desired. Regional strategies for water clarity improvement often overlook the role of local environmental stewardship actions performed by lake associations on individual lakes across a region. Lake associations can act...
Natural resources knowledge socialization in Yucatan, Mexico: promoting a mutually beneficial society-nature relationship
23. August 2019 Castillo-Burguete, M. Teresa, Mart?nez-Mateos, M., Viga-de Alva, M. Dolores Research
Members of the San Crisanto Ejido in Yucatan, Mexico, have developed a kind of harmonious society-nature relationship. Socialization at the family level is instrumental to fomenting this relationship. We developed a conceptual framework from a human ecology perspective to describe and analyze the natural resources knowledge acquisition process and thus better understand the complexities behind this relationship. Research was conducted with 35 ejido members, who collectively own and manage 1420 ha of natural areas. In-depth interviews were done with the families of four members, i.e., four...
Applying a “theory of change” process to facilitate transdisciplinary sustainability education
21. August 2019 Armitage, D., Arends, J., Barlow, N. L., Closs, A., Cloutis, G. A., Cowley, M., Davis, C., Dunlop, S. D., Ganowski, S., Hings, C., Chepkemoi Rotich, L., Schang, K., Tsuji, S., Wiens, C. Insight
Transdisciplinary sustainability training is a recognized need in many graduate programs. However, there is limited analysis of specific pedagogical tools to support this effort, particularly from the perspective of graduate students. Here, we reflect on the application of a “theory of change” process to support transdisciplinary thinking among early career researchers with diverse disciplinary backgrounds. For class participants, the theory of change process helped to clarify the diversity of actors associated with their research, to unpack their assumptions about complex...
Do practitioners of holistic management exhibit systems thinking?
21. August 2019 Mann, C., Parkins, J. R., Isaac, M. E., Sherren, K. Research
Holistic management (HM) is a decision-making framework, first developed in grazing systems, which combines intensive, rapid rotation of grazing livestock with adaptive and holistic decision making. Holistic management's use of systems thinking concepts may help farmers cope with increasing complexity on their farms. We used Q-methodology, a mixed method approach for identifying discourses, to understand the levels and types of systems thinking employed by farmers and HM trainers along a gradient of HM engagement. With responses from 18 Canadian and American participants, we...
Analyzing drivers of fish biomass and biodiversity within community fish refuges in Cambodia
20. August 2019 Fiorella, K. J., Bageant, E. R., Kim, M., Sean, V., Try, V., MacDonell, H. J., Baran, E., Kura, Y., Brooks, A. C., Barrett, C. B., Thilsted, S. H. Research
Freshwater social-ecological systems are shaped by site-specific characteristics, environmental change and annual fluctuations, and the actions of resource users and managers. Our primary aim is to analyze the relative effects of these multifacted forces on fishery productivity and biodiversity using the case of community-managed protected areas within Cambodia’s rice field fisheries, known as community fish refuges. Our secondary aim is to take advantage of fixed-effects regression models, a rigorous approach that is common in other disciplines, yet novel to analysis of...
Context matters: horizontal and hierarchical network governance structures in Vietnam’s sanitation sector
20. August 2019 Fischer, M., Nguyen, M., Strande, L. Research
Governance networks describe the complex relations among different types of actors involved in the governance of a policy issue. Here, we ask how different institutional and socioeconomic contextual conditions influence the structure of these networks and result in more horizontal or hierarchical types of governance networks. To answer this question, we study Vietnam’s sanitation sector and compare two different provinces, Hanoi and Ben Tre. More specifically, we analyze networks of information exchange among key actors based on face-to-face interviews and prestructured...
Measuring social-ecological resilience reveals opportunities for transforming environmental governance
20. August 2019 Salomon, A. K., Quinlan, A. E., Pang, G. H., Okamoto, D. K., Vazquez-Vera, L. Research
Understanding the resilience of social-ecological systems can advance our ability to transform environmental governance and achieve ecologically sustainable and socially just outcomes. However, measuring this multidimensional emergent system property has been elusive. We translated theoretical principles of resilience into ecological and social metrics and used expert knowledge to assess how they have changed through three sequential governance regimes of the Pacific herring fishery in northwestern Canada. We showed a significant reduction in system-wide resilience between previous...
Loss and social-ecological transformation: pathways of change in Xochimilco, Mexico
20. August 2019 Eakin, H., Shelton, R. E., Siqueiros-Garcia, J., Charli-Joseph, L., Manuel-Navarrete, D. Research
We explore how loss of livelihood, loss of ecological function, and loss of group identity are linked in the process of social-ecological change through the narratives of stakeholders associated with the wetland of Xochimilco in Mexico City. Drawing from interviews, focus groups, and participatory workshops with a variety of residents and city administrators, we analyze narratives about what is valued, what is problematized, and what social and ecological relationships appear as critical from the perspective of contemporary residents and officials. Loss is prominent in these narratives...
Resilience and fire management in the Anthropocene
20. August 2019 Gillson, L., Whitlock, C., Humphrey, G. Synthesis
Fire management around the world is now undergoing extensive review, with a move toward fire management plans that maintain biodiversity and other ecosystems services, while at the same time mitigating the negative impacts to people and property. There is also increasing recognition of the historical and anthropogenic dimensions that underlie current fire regimes and the likelihood that projected future climate change will lead to more fires in most regions. Concurrently, resilience theory is playing an increasingly important role in understanding social-ecological systems, and new...