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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.
Neonicotinoids in global agriculture: evidence for a new pesticide treadmill?
29. September 2020 Bakker, L., Van der Werf, W., Tittonell, P., Wyckhuys, K. A. G., Bianchi, F. J. J. A. Synthesis
Overreliance on synthetic insecticides in global agriculture is the outcome of a “pesticide treadmill,” in which insecticide-induced pest resistance development and the depletion of beneficial insect populations aggravate farmers’ pesticide dependencies. Examples of the pesticide treadmill have been witnessed repeatedly over the past seven decades, prompting the question whether the rapid uptake and usage patterns of neonicotinoid insecticides and their associated environmental impact are in accordance with this recurrent phenomenon. We hypothesize a conceptual framework...
Main challenges and key features of indicator-based agroecological assessment frameworks in the context of international cooperation
29. September 2020 Wiget, M., Muller, A., Hilbeck, A. Synthesis
Agroecology increasingly gains importance in the discussion about sustainable food systems. To facilitate the transition from conventional farming to agroecological farming, adequate methods and concepts to measure and assess impact and productivity of agroecological farming systems (AFSs) are needed, which consider their multifunctionality and other specific characteristics, here called agroecological sustainability assessment frameworks and tools (ASAFTs). In the past years, many agricultural sustainability assessment tools and frameworks were developed but their suitability and...
Reconciling food security and biodiversity conservation: participatory scenario planning in southwestern Ethiopia
29. September 2020 Jiren, T. S., Hanspach, J., Schultner, J., Fischer, J., Bergsten, A., Senbeta, F., Hylander, K., Dorresteijn, I. Research
Social-ecological systems are complex and involve uncertainties emerging from interactions between biophysical and social system components. In the face of growing complexity and uncertainty, stakeholder engagement with the future is important to proactively manoeuvre toward desirable outcomes. Focusing on the interrelated challenges of food security and biodiversity conservation, we conducted a participatory scenario planning exercise in a rural landscape in southwestern Ethiopia. We involved 35 stakeholder organizations in multiple workshops to construct causal loop diagrams, elicit...
Disentangling the complex roles of markets on coral reefs in northwest Madagascar
26. September 2020 Maire, E., D'agata, S., Aliaume, C., Mouillot, D., Darling, E. S., Ramahery, V., Ranaivoson, R., Randriamanantsoa, B., Tianarisoa, T. F., Santisy, A., Cinner, J. E. Research
Rapid degradation of the world’s coral reefs jeopardizes their ecological functioning and ultimately imperils the well-being of the millions of people with reef-dependent livelihoods. Ecosystem accessibility is the main driver of their conditions, with the most accessible ecosystems being most at risk of resource depletion. People’s socioeconomic conditions can change as they get further from urban centers and can profoundly influence people’s relationship with the environment. However, the mechanisms through which increasing accessibility from human societies affects...
Whose river is it? An assessment of livelihood and cultural water flow requirements for the Karnali basin
25. September 2020 Sharma, A., Karki, E., Eriyagama, N., Shrestha, G., Jeuland, M., Bharati, L. Research
The term “environmental flows” refers to a combination of features, including quantity, quality, and timing of water flows required to sustainably maintain a river’s health, balancing both ecological and societal needs. Incorporating basic human livelihood and sociocultural aspects in environmental flow assessments alongside ecological concerns provides a more holistic perspective on water flow management. Here, we provide an assessment that complements an ecosystem functioning lens by focusing solely on quantifying the flows associated with livelihood activities and...
Understanding the bushmeat hunting crisis in African savannas using fuzzy cognitive mapping and stakeholder knowledge
24. September 2020 Van Velden, J. L., Moyo, B. H., Ross, H., Biggs, D. Research
Critical conservation issues such as bushmeat hunting, which exist in complex social, political, and policy landscapes, require the incorporation of diverse sources of knowledge as a key aspect of decision making. We demonstrate the utilization of both individual and collective stakeholder knowledge to contribute toward decision making. We used fuzzy cognitive mapping in a two-stage process to investigate bushmeat hunting and consumption in Malawi as a case study, and arrived at models of the bushmeat hunting and consumption systems in the form of cognitive maps. We also explored the effect...
Broadening the perspective on ocean privatizations: an interdisciplinary social science enquiry
09. September 2020 Schl?ter, A., Bavinck, M., Hadjimichael, M., Partelow, S., Said, A., Ert?r, I. Insight
Privatization of the ocean, in the sense of defining more exclusive property rights, is taking place in increasingly diverse ways. Because of more intensive and diversified use patterns and increasing sustainability challenges, it is likely that this process will continue into the future. We argue that the nature of privatization varies from one oceanic domain to another. We differentiate four ideal-typical domains: (1) resources, (2) space, (3) governance control, and (4) knowledge, and nine criteria for the assessment of privatization. We apply those criteria to a selection of examples...
Resilience as pathway diversity: linking systems, individual, and temporal perspectives on resilience
09. September 2020 Lade, S. J., Walker, B. H., Haider, L. Jamila Insight
Approaches to understanding resilience from psychology and sociology emphasize individuals’ agency but obscure systemic factors. Approaches to understanding resilience stemming from ecology emphasize system dynamics such as feedbacks but obscure individuals. Approaches from both psychology and ecology examine the actions or attractors available in the present, but neglect how actions taken now can affect the configuration of the social-ecological system in the future. Here, we propose an extension to resilience theory, which we label “pathway diversity”, that links...
Multilevel stakeholder networks for Australian marine biosecurity: well-structured for top-down information provision, requires better two-way communication
02. September 2020 McAllister, R. R. J., Kruger, H., Stenekes, N., Garrard, R. Research
The structure of stakeholder networks impacts the ability for environmental governance to fulfil core functions: share information; agree on problem framing and actions; and resolve conflict. Managing pest and disease incursions presents particular challenges. Rapid coordination of action is needed in times of crisis, but any hope of success during crisis requires a foundation of ongoing communication and surveillance. Recent Australian strategic planning for marine biosecurity identified the critical role of an independent national marine pest network in providing ongoing communication...
Seeking sustainable pathways for land use in Latin America
31. August 2020 Rocha, J. C., Mazzeo, N., Piaggio, M., Carriquiry, M. Guest Editorial
Analyzing procedural equity in government-led community-based forest management
31. August 2020 Friedman, R. S., Rhodes, J. R., Dean, A. J., Law, E. A., Santika, T., Budiharta, S., Hutabarat, J. A., Indrawan, T. P., Kusworo, A., Meijaard, E., St. John, F. A.V., Struebig, M. J., Wilson, K. A. Research
Participatory approaches to forest management have been promoted as a means of returning rights historically removed, and as a way of managing natural resources sustainably, fairly, and to improve livelihoods in communities. Top-down models of community-based forest management take the perspective that if people feel ownership over, have a voice in decisions about, and can benefit from surrounding ecosystems, then they will be motivated to maintain and protect them. However, even participatory approaches, such as community-based forest management, may not always result in clear positive...
Impact through participatory research approaches: an archetype analysis
26. August 2020 Tribaldos, T., Oberlack, C., Schneider, F. Research
Participatory research approaches are often assumed to be effective for addressing sustainability problems that involve a substantial amount of complexity, uncertainty, and conflicting values. The adaptive and integrative character of these approaches engages various scientific and nonscientific actors in collective knowledge production processes. An increasing number of case studies documents pathways to impact triggered by participatory research approaches. However, cumulative learning across cases about the impacts of participatory research projects remains limited to date. One question...
Flooding and land use change in Jambi Province, Sumatra: integrating local knowledge and scientific inquiry
26. August 2020 Merten, J., Stiegler, C., Hennings, N., Purnama, E. S., R?ll, A., Agusta, H., Dippold, M. A., Fehrmann, L., Gunawan, D., H?lscher, D., Knohl, A., K?ckes, J., Otten, F., Zemp, D. C., Faust, H. Research
The rapid expansion of rubber and oil palm plantations in Jambi Province, Sumatra, Indonesia, is associated with large-scale deforestation and the impairment of many ecosystem services. According to villagers’ observations, this land use change has, together with climate change, led to an increase in the magnitude and frequency of river flood events, which constrain village and plantation development. Based on this empirical societal problem, we investigate whether we can find measurable indications for the presumed linkages between land use change, climate change, and changing...
Assessing range-wide “contribution to recovery” by multiple local governments for a threatened species
17. August 2020 Greco, S. E. Research
To recover a threatened or endangered species, numerous local government jurisdictions are usually involved in habitat mitigation and conservation planning actions for evaluating impacts to habitat. In the USA local governments make official land use decisions. A social-ecological case study of multiple counties is presented tabulating the relative “contribution to recovery” by each county for giant garter snake (GGS; Thamnophis gigas), a federally and state-listed threatened California endemic watersnake species that is reliant on rice agriculture. The entire geographic range...
Do farmers and conservationists perceive landscape changes differently?
14. August 2020 Ujh?zy, N., Moln?r, Z., Bede-Fazekas, ?., Szab?, ?., Bir?, M. Research
Broader understanding of stakeholders’ perceptions of landscape changes is needed to cope with global environmental challenges locally. In this study, farmers’ and conservationists’-researchers’ perceptions of landscape changes were compared by analyzing interviews conducted in the Danube-Tisza Interfluve region of Hungary through a combined quantitative and qualitative approach. Perceptions concerning the trends of changes (increasing or decreasing), as well as evaluations (positive and negative) of 40 different landscape elements were analyzed. The quantitative...
The promise and reality of social and cultural metrics
13. August 2020 Bessette, D. L., Gregory, R. Research
In addition to evaluating the economic, ecological, and health impacts of major public policy initiatives, impact assessments typically also need to identify and evaluate an action’s social and cultural (S/C) impacts. A wide range of S/C metrics have been suggested, and guidelines exist to help ensure their thoughtful and comprehensive development. Nevertheless, many of the S/C concerns identified as part of impact assessments remain vague, are difficult to measure or understand, and are more closely attuned to existing data than to concerns expressed by stakeholders or residents of...
Deforestation and economic growth trends on oceanic islands highlight the need for meso-scale analysis and improved mid-range theory in conservation
13. August 2020 Bhatia, N., Cumming, G. S. Research
Forests both support biodiversity and provide a wide range of benefits to people at multiple scales. Global and national remote sensing analyses of drivers of forest change generally focus on broad-scale influences on area (composition), ignoring arrangement (configuration). To explore meso-scale relationships, we compared forest composition and configuration to six indicators of economic growth over 23 years (1992–2015) of satellite data for 23 island nations. Based on global analyses, we expected to find clear relationships between economic growth and forest cover. Eleven islands...
Building adaptive capacity in a coastal region experiencing global change
10. August 2020 Johnson, F. A., Eaton, M. J., Mikels-Carrasco, J., Case, D. Research
Coastal ecosystems in the eastern U.S. have been severely altered by human development, and climate change and other stressors are now further degrading the capacity of those ecological and social systems to remain resilient in the face of such disturbances. We sought to identify potential ways in which local conservation interests in the Lowcountry of South Carolina (USA) could participate in a social process of adaptation planning, and how that process might ultimately be broadened to engage a more diverse set of partners. We engaged participants through a combination of informal...
Social-ecological resilience through a biocultural lens: a participatory methodology to support global targets and local priorities
29. Juli 2020 Ungar, M., McRuer, J., Liu, X., Theron, L., Blais, D., Schnurr, M. A. Research
More research is needed to properly represent social-ecological system (SES) interactions that support the integrity of biological and cultural, i.e., biocultural, relationships in places experiencing environmental, economic, and social change. In this paper we offer a novel methodology to address this need through the development of place-based indicators and engagement of young people as coresearchers in two communities that rely on resource extraction industries (specifically, oil and gas) in Canada and South Africa. Young people’s SES experiences were explored through a suite of...
Understanding the context of multifaceted collaborations for social-ecological sustainability: a methodology for cross-case analysis
29. Juli 2020 Cockburn, J., Schoon, M., Cundill, G., Robinson, C., Aburto, J. A., Alexander, S. M., Baggio, J. A., Barnaud, C., Chapman, M., Garcia Llorente, M., Garc?a-L?pez, G. A., Hill, R., Ifejika Speranza, C., Lee, J., Meek, C. L., Rosenberg, E., Schultz, L., Thondhlana, G. Synthesis
There are limited approaches available that enable researchers and practitioners to conduct multiple case study comparisons of complex cases of collaboration in natural resource management and conservation. The absence of such tools is felt despite the fact that over the past several years a great deal of literature has reviewed the state of the science regarding collaboration. Much of this work is based on case studies of collaboration and highlights the importance of contextual variables, further complicating efforts to compare outcomes across case-study areas and the likely failure of...