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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.
Viability of community forests as social enterprises: A Cameroon case study
30. Dezember 2018 Foundjem-Tita, D., Duguma, L. A., Speelman, S., Piabuo, S. M. Research
Since the concept of community forests was instituted in Cameroon in 1994, there has been an upsurge of such forest management arrangements in the country. However, up to now there is no conclusive evidence as to whether such schemes can operate as profitable ventures and at the same time meet their social and environmental objectives. The latter is the core objective of a social enterprise that constitutes the basis of our analysis. In fact, little attention has been paid to understanding the business side of community forests. In this regard, we review existing evidence about community...
Keeping the land: indigenous communities’ struggle over land use and sustainable forest management in Kalimantan, Indonesia
30. Dezember 2018 Yuliani, E. Linda, De Jong, E. B. P., Knippenberg, L., Bakara, D. O., Salim, M. Agus, Sunderland, T. Research
Despite the great emphasis on sustainable forest management in the 1998 Indonesian reform movement, deforestation has only accelerated since then, with Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) exhibiting the highest rate of forest loss. Some forested areas have, however, been preserved by local communities. We investigate how and why two of these communities in Kapuas Hulu district, West Kalimantan, have managed to maintain their forests against the pressures of illegal logging and conversion to oil palm plantations. One village community had the capacity to act on its own, while the other needed...
Understanding what shapes varying perceptions of the procedural fairness of transboundary environmental decision-making processes
30. Dezember 2018 Hamilton, M. Research
The effectiveness of collaborative environmental decision-making processes hinges on the degree to which participating stakeholder groups (i.e., policy actors) perceive those processes to be fair. However, there is limited understanding of the factors that shape actors' perceptions of the fairness of decision-making processes, a concept known as perceived procedural fairness. I develop and test a set of hypotheses about the conditions under which actors that participate in the same environmental decision-making processes perceive the fairness of those processes differently. The study...
Perceiving resilience: understanding people’s intuitions about the qualities of air, water, and soil
21. Dezember 2018 Satterfield, T., Collins, M. B., Harthorn, B. Herr Research
Social-ecological-systems (SES) scholars have called for increased elaboration of the social dimensions of natural systems. Although a strong body of research explaining adaptive or maladaptive resource use exists, the integration of knowledge related to values, perceptions, and behaviors is less developed. Perceptions are particularly useful when one seeks a broad-scale view of the judgments that people implicitly or more automatically make in relation to nature and/or how people might rapidly and intuitively interpret the meaning of ecological status and change. Environmental...
Social-ecological systems as complex adaptive systems: organizing principles for advancing research methods and approaches
19. Dezember 2018 Preiser, R., Biggs, R., De Vos, A., Folke, C. Synthesis
The study of social-ecological systems (SES) has been significantly shaped by insights from research on complex adaptive systems (CAS). We offer a brief overview of the conceptual integration of CAS research and its implications for the advancement of SES studies and methods. We propose a conceptual typology of six organizing principles of CAS based on a comparison of leading scholars’ classifications of CAS features and properties. This typology clusters together similar underlying organizing principles of the features and attributes of CAS, and serves as a heuristic framework for...
Factors influencing ranchers’ intentions to manage for vegetation heterogeneity and promote cross-boundary management in the northern Great Plains
18. Dezember 2018 Sliwinski, M. S., Burbach, M. E., Powell, L. A., Schacht, W. H. Research
Most private grasslands in the Great Plains are managed with the goal to optimize beef production, which tends to homogenize rangeland habitats. The subsequent loss of vegetation heterogeneity on private lands is detrimental to ecosystem function. However, conservation planners should understand the factors that lead to variation in management of rangelands. We used a mail survey targeted to ranchers in counties with intact rangeland in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska in 2016 to examine factors predicted to be related to attitudes about strategies leading to heterogeneity such as...
Ecosystem services between integration and economics imperialism
17. Dezember 2018 Thor?n, H., St?lhammar, S. Research
Here, we explore the interdisciplinary merits of the ecosystem services concept by recruiting the notion of economics imperialism. We identify four different ways in which interdisciplinary concepts can fail as interdisciplinary concepts, three of which are associated with imperialism. First, interdisciplinary concepts can fail to be integrative, typically by being overtly flexible or vague. The remaining three ways, which typically mark imperialist infringements, are: failure to achieve ontological unification, failure to maintain or accommodate a plurality of accounts when it is suitable...
Comparative studies of water governance: a systematic review
17. Dezember 2018 ?zerol, G., Vinke-de Kruijf, J., Brisbois, M., Casiano Flores, C., Deekshit, P., Girard, C., Knieper, C., Mirnezami, S., Ortega-Reig, M., Ranjan, P., Schr?der, N. J. S., Schr?ter, B. Synthesis
Governance is key to tackling water challenges and transforming water management under the increasing pressures of competing water uses and climate change. Diverse water governance regimes have evolved in different countries and regions to regulate the development and management of water resources and the provision of water services. Scholars and policy analysts have been comparing these water governance regimes to analyze elements and processes, to assess performance, or to draw lessons. Although the number of such studies has increased since the 1980s, no comprehensive synthesis exists...
Structured decision analysis informed by traditional ecological knowledge as a tool to strengthen subsistence systems in a changing Arctic
13. Dezember 2018 Christie, K. S., Hollmen, T. E., Huntington, H. P., Lovvorn, J. R. Insight
Climate change is impacting the subsistence livelihoods of many indigenous communities in the Arctic. We describe how structured decision analysis (SDA), informed by traditional ecological knowledge, can be used to understand the mechanisms of how climate change influences subsistence species and their harvest, and to build upon existing adaptive strategies and decision-making processes. In the I?upiat community of Wainwright, Alaska, we test SDA as a potential framework by which vulnerabilities of subsistence systems can be identified and climate change adaptations can be prioritized...
Telecoupling: A new frontier for global sustainability
12. Dezember 2018 Hull, V., Liu, J. Guest Editorial
Telecoupling refers to socioeconomic and environmental interactions between distant coupled human and natural systems, and has become more extensive and intensive in the globalized era. The integrated framework of telecoupling examines flows of information, energy, matter, people, organisms, and other things such as financial capital and goods and products around the globe. It pinpoints causes and effects arising from engagement of diverse agents in the global sphere. This first special feature on telecoupling includes 16 articles that explore diverse telecouplings including trade...
At the nexus of problem-solving and critical research
07. Dezember 2018 Mahmoud, Y., Jerneck, A., Kronsell, A., Steen, K. Research
The analytical distinction between critical and problem-solving research is useful. At the onset of research, the latter takes the world as it is while the former questions it. Yet, in striving to integrate social and natural dimensions of sustainability such a distinction may surface as a methodological obstacle. We illustrate how combining critical with problem-solving approaches can help us imagine, understand, and enable transitions to sustainability. First, we trace the historical divide and potential complementarity between critical and problem-solving approaches in the natural and...
Preparing the next generation of sustainability scientists
06. Dezember 2018 Killion, A. K., Sterle, K., Bondank, E. N., Drabik, J. R., Bera, A., Alian, S., Goodrich, K. A., Hale, M., Myer, R. A., Phung, Q., Shew, A. M., Thayer, A. W. Insight
Graduate programs emerging in universities over recent decades support the advanced study of sustainability issues in complex socio-environmental systems. Constructing the problem-scope to address these issues requires graduate students to integrate across disciplines and synthesize the social and natural dimensions of sustainability. Graduate programs that are designed to foster inter- and transdisciplinary research acknowledge the importance of training students to use integrative research approaches. However, this training is not available in all graduate programs that support...
Harnessing local knowledge for scientific knowledge production: challenges and pitfalls within evidence-based sustainability studies
06. Dezember 2018 Persson, J., Johansson, E. L., Olsson, L. Research
The calls for evidence-based public policy making have increased dramatically in the last decades, and so has the interest in evidence-based sustainability studies. But questions remain about what “evidence” actually means in different contexts and if the concept travels well between different domains of application. Some of the most relevant questions asked by sustainability studies are not, and in some cases cannot be, directly answered by relying on research evidence of the kinds favored by the evidence-based movement. Therefore, sustainability studies must also harness...
Multiscale spatial planning to maintain forest connectivity in the Argentine Chaco in the face of deforestation
28. November 2018 Torrella, S. A., Piquer-Rodr?guez, M., Levers, C., Ginzburg, R., Gavier-Pizarro, G., Kuemmerle, T. Research
Agricultural expansion threatens biodiversity due to habitat loss and fragmentation. In the Gran Chaco, a global deforestation hotspot, rampant cropland and pasture expansion raise concerns about the sustainability of these land-use changes. Zoning policies were recently enacted in the Argentine Chaco to balance agriculture and conservation, yet the environmental outcomes of implementing these policies remain unclear. Here, we focused on the province of Formosa (Argentina) to evaluate how fully implementing zoning there would affect forest loss and connectivity, and how multiscale...
A review of the social-ecological systems framework: applications, methods, modifications, and challenges
28. November 2018 Partelow, S. Synthesis
The social-ecological systems framework (SESF) is arguably the most comprehensive conceptual framework for diagnosing interactions and outcomes in social-ecological systems (SES). This article systematically reviews the literature applying and developing the SESF and discusses methodological challenges for its continued use and development. Six types of research approaches using the SESF are identified, as well as the context of application, types of data used, and commonly associated concepts. The frequency of how each second-tier variable is used across articles is analyzed. A summary...
The societal relevance of river restoration
27. November 2018 Deffner, J., Haase, P. Research
The majority of studies on the ecological success of river restoration show improved morphological conditions, but a poor response of the biota. Because most river restoration projects are costly, a debate has started on the meaningfulness of such investments. Yet only a few studies have investigated the societal dimension of river restoration projects in detail. Therefore, the main aim of this study is to shed light on the social aspects of river restoration. Our empirical study consisted of two parts: (1) an explorative study conducted with 32 residents encountered at three restored...
Systemic resilience: principles and processes for a science of change in contexts of adversity
27. November 2018 Ungar, M. Synthesis
Despite the increasing popularity of discussions of resilience in disciplines as diverse as ecology, psychology, economics, architecture, and genetics (among many others), researchers still lack a conceptual model to explain how the resilience of one system relates to the resilience of other cooccurring systems. Models that explain resilience within a single system are more robust and better studied. Although some researchers argue that both ontological and epistemological weaknesses prevent such an integrated model from being developed (the incommensurability hypothesis), others have...
Demographic variability and scales of agreement and disagreement over resource management restrictions
26. November 2018 McClanahan, T. R., Abunge, C. A. Research
Conflicts over the imposition of restrictions in common-pool resources management institutions are expected to arise from variations in human values, perceptions of justice, and the disparate demographic scales of benefits and costs. We hypothesized and tested a series of propositions about how the demographic scale and context of common restrictions would influence coral reef fisheries of 4 African countries. We surveyed the preferences and perceived benefits of 1849 people in 89 fish landing sites for 6 common restrictions of increasing severity. Variability in perceived benefits within...
Designing transformative spaces for sustainability in social-ecological systems
19. November 2018 Pereira, L. M., Karpouzoglou, T., Frantzeskaki, N., Olsson, P. Guest Editorial
Transformations toward sustainability have recently gained traction, triggered in part by a growing recognition of the dramatic socio-cultural, political, economic, and technological changes required to move societies toward more desirable futures in the Anthropocene. However, there is a dearth of literature that emphasizes the crucial aspects of sustainability transformations in the diverse contexts of the Global South. Contributors to this Special Feature aim to address this gap by weaving together a series of case studies that together form an important navigational tool on the...
Iconic images, symbols, and archetypes: their function in art and science
14. November 2018 Westley, F. R., Folke, C. Insight
The relationship between art and science is one of contrasts and commonalities. We look at one commonality between art and science: the central role of iconic images. We argue that iconic images are the touchstone symbols in both art and science and provide similar functions for both. We propose that these iconic images provoke an openness and a receptivity to our deepest emotional capacities and a connection between those and the dynamics of the broader social-ecological systems in which we operate. Such iconic images may also act as attractors that provoke the emergence of increasing...