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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.
The emergence of social licence necessitates reforms in environmental regulation
15. August 2018 Van Putten, I. E., Cvitanovic, C., Fulton, E., Lacey, J., Kelly, R. Insight
The term “social licence to operate” (SLO), popularized in corporate usage over the last 20 years, is frequently used to refer to the level of social approval that exists in relation to the development of natural resources for private or public purposes. However, the theoretical and practical utility of the concept remains contested and it is often used opportunistically to advance individual agendas. Moreover, it remains difficult to assess how an adequate level of SLO can be transparently assessed, or how dialogue can be appropriately achieved. In this paper we argue that the...
Frontiers in socio-environmental research: components, connections, scale, and context
15. August 2018 Pulver, S., Ulibarri, N., Sobocinski, K. L., Alexander, S. M., Johnson, M. L., McCord, P. F., Dell'Angelo, J. Research
The complex and interdisciplinary nature of socio-environmental (SE) problems has led to numerous efforts to develop organizing frameworks to capture the structural and functional elements of SE systems. We evaluate six leading SE frameworks, i.e., human ecosystem framework, resilience, integrated assessment of ecosystem services, vulnerability framework, coupled human-natural systems, and social-ecological systems framework, with the dual goals of (1) investigating the theoretical core of SE systems research emerging across diverse frameworks and (2) highlighting the gaps and research...
Reframing the sustainable development goals to achieve sustainable development in the Anthropocene—a systems approach
13. August 2018 Lim, M. M. L., S?gaard J?rgensen, P., Wyborn, C. A. Research
Griggs et al. (2013) redefine sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present while safeguarding Earth’s life-support system, on which the welfare of current and future generations depend.” We recommend this as the end goal that the United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs) should strive to achieve. Integration across the SDGs is less than what is required from a science perspective. Effective implementation of the SDGs will require States to attend to trade-offs and overlaps. We argue that continuous failure to address integration...
The implications of group norms for adaptation in collectively managed agricultural systems: evidence from Sri Lankan paddy farmers
13. August 2018 Tozier de la Poterie, A., Burchfield, E. K., Carrico, A. R. Research
A growing literature seeks to explore the factors shaping adaptation to climate change. In collectively managed common pool resource systems, there is often a tension between behavior that benefits the individual and actions that benefit a larger group. Resource users in sustainable systems must therefore work together to ensure outcomes that are beneficial to the group as a whole. However, in the face of changing social, political, and environmental conditions, community norms may change, leading to the emerging of new behavioral patterns. Understanding when and why people decide to act...
Spatial patterns of seasonal crop production suggest coordination within and across dryland agricultural systems of Hawaiʻi Island
08. August 2018 Kagawa-Viviani, A. K., Lincoln, N. Kekuewa, Quintus, S., Lucas, M. P., Giambelluca, T. W. Research
Hawaiian dryland agriculture is believed to have played an important role in the rise of archaic states and consolidation of political power. At the same time, the sensitivity of agricultural production in dryland field systems to temporal variability in climate would have had implications for economic and political relationships, both competitive and cooperative. In this study, we explore whether and how annual cycles of climate might have constrained seasonal cultivation and crop production in three rain-fed field systems on the Island of Hawaiʻi. We utilized a recently developed...
Mangroves, fishers, and the struggle for adaptive comanagement: applying the social-ecological systems framework to a marine extractive reserve (RESEX) in Brazil
08. August 2018 Partelow, S., Glaser, M., Solano Arce, S., Barboza, R. S? Leit?o, Schl?ter, A. Research
Brazil has a network of marine extractive reserves (RESEX), a form of marine protected area (MPA) using comanagement. The RESEX program aims to bring traditionally marginalized populations with natural resource dependent livelihoods into national development processes by empowering them to participate in governance and steward biodiversity conservation. We apply the social-ecological systems framework (SESF) and collective action theory to diagnose challenges for comanagement in the Caete-Teperacu marine RESEX near Bragan?a, Brazil, a multiuse mangrove estuary supporting a small-scale crab...
Social-ecological resilience in indigenous coastal edge contexts
06. August 2018 Mulrennan, M. E., Bussi?res, V. Research
Cultural edges, as sites of encounter and interaction between two or more cultural groups, tend to result in increased access to knowledge, skills, and material goods. First proposed more than a decade ago as an elaboration of the ecological edge concept, we suggest that cultural edges merit closer attention, particularly in relation to the complex histories and diverse processes of interaction indigenous communities have had with outsiders, including settlers and other indigenous groups. Our analysis is focused on the coastal Cree Nation of Wemindji, Eeyou Istchee, northern Québec...
Complex effects of natural disasters on protected areas through altering telecouplings
06. August 2018 Zhang, J., Connor, T., Yang, H., Ouyang, Z., Li, S., Liu, J. Research
Increasingly, protected areas have been connected with the rest of the world through telecouplings (socioeconomic and environmental interactions over distances) that are essential for their structures and functions. Unfortunately, many of the Earth’s protected areas are located in regions with frequent natural disasters that can profoundly affect telecouplings. Although there have been many studies evaluating socioeconomic or ecological effects of natural disasters separately, systematic evaluations of socioeconomic and ecological effects of natural disasters by altering multiple...
Can income diversification resolve social-ecological traps in small-scale fisheries and aquaculture in the global south? A case study of response diversity in the Tam Giang lagoon, central Vietnam
01. August 2018 Hanh, T. Thi Hai, Boonstra, W. J. Research
Small-scale fishers and aquaculturists in the global south often face reinforcing feedbacks between resource degradation and livelihood impoverishment, a situation conceptualized as a social-ecological trap. It is argued that these traps can be overcome through income diversification, i.e., livelihoods that are maintained from variable income sources. Our aim was to further scrutinize that claim using the concept of response diversity. To do so, we applied the concept and analyzed income diversification in the Tam Giang lagoon, central Vietnam. Based on our analysis, we argue that high...
Effects of fisheries management on local ecological knowledge
30. Juli 2018 Farr, E. R., Stoll, J. S., Beitl, C. M. Research
Local ecological knowledge, or the collective perceptions held by a particular group about their environment, results from the transmission of cultural knowledge from one generation to the next, combined with regular and persistent interactions between individuals and the biophysical environment. Management systems that limit access to certain natural resources likely have an effect on the quality of that knowledge. We explore the distribution of local ecological knowledge as it corresponds to different types of fishing activities and experience among fishermen in the eastern Gulf of Maine...
Food as a daily art: ideas for its use as a method in development practice
27. Juli 2018 Haider, L., Van Oudenhoven, F. J. W. Insight
Food is the only art form that is also a basic need. It requires knowledge and labor for cultivation and cooking and offers a space where tastes, hospitality, and other cultural values are expressed and created. As a daily practice in agricultural societies, food is a holistic concept that incorporates ideas of health, spirituality, community, technology, and trade, and connects the most marginalized with the most powerful. Conventional international development aid is dominated by a limited number of relatively narrow ideas informed by scientific processes: progress, economic growth...
Photovoice for mobilizing insights on human well-being in complex social-ecological systems: case studies from Kenya and South Africa
24. Juli 2018 Masterson, V. A., Mahajan, S. L., Teng?, M. Research
The value of diverse perspectives in social-ecological systems research and transdisciplinarity is well recognized. Human well-being and how it is derived from dynamic ecosystems is one area where local knowledge and perspectives are critical for designing interventions for sustainable pathways out of poverty. However, to realize the potential to enrich the understanding of complex dynamics for sustainability, there is a need for methods that engage holistic ways of perceiving human-nature interactions from multiple worldviews that also acknowledge inequalities between scientific and other...
Who benefits from seafood trade? A comparison of social and market structures in small-scale fisheries
23. Juli 2018 Drury O'Neill, E., Crona, B., Ferrer, A. G., Pomeroy, R., Jiddawi, N. S. Research
We examine the benefits flowing from a coastal seascape through seafood trade to various social groups in two distinct small-scale fishery case studies. A knowledge gap currently exists in relation to how benefits from a fishery, and the associated trade, are ultimately distributed, specifically, how market structures and relations, and the combined dynamics of the local fishing society, can mediate these flows. Previous research into improved fisheries governance for food and livelihood security has failed to integrate the structure of the market place as well as the multidimensional...
Seeking unconventional alliances and bridging innovations in spaces for transformative change: the seed sector and agricultural sustainability in Argentina
19. Juli 2018 Van Zwanenberg, P., Cremaschi, A., Obaya, M., Marin, A., Lowenstein, V. Research
Experimental spaces for learning about and nurturing processes of social-ecological transformation are of increasing interest; a reflection, in part, of a more interventionist approach to sustainability research and funding. We reflect on our experience in Argentina facilitating a multistakeholder transformative space to identify and discuss agricultural sustainability challenges associated with seed market concentration, and to explore social innovations in the seed sector that can help foster more sustainable pathways of change in agricultural systems. We argue that in facilitating such...
Implementing strategies to overcome social-ecological traps: the role of community brokers and institutional bricolage in a locally managed marine area
19. Juli 2018 Steenbergen, D. J., Warren, C. Research
We examine collaborative arrangements for resource management between communities and external agencies, with a particular interest in how community-based interventions are integrated into local contexts. This timely inquiry comes in a period when participatory resource management approaches are increasingly being applied to overcome the perpetual cycles of poverty in which poor resource-dependent people find themselves, i.e., social-ecological traps. Much of the literature on social-ecological traps has focused on identifying conditions, factors, and responses that are important in, for...
The Regime Shifts Database: a framework for analyzing regime shifts in social-ecological systems
19. Juli 2018 Biggs, R., Peterson, G. D., Rocha, J. C. Research
Regime shifts, i.e., large, persistent, and usually unexpected changes in ecosystems and social-ecological systems, can have major impacts on ecosystem services, and consequently, on human well-being. However, the vulnerability of different regions to various regime shifts is largely unknown because evidence for the existence of regime shifts in different ecosystems and parts of the world is scattered and highly uneven. Furthermore, research tends to focus on individual regime shifts rather than comparisons across regime shifts, limiting the potential for identifying common drivers that...
Transdisciplinary research as transformative space making for sustainability: enhancing propoor transformative agency in periurban contexts
18. Juli 2018 Marshall, F., Dolley, J., Priya, R. Research
In this paper, we discuss how transdisciplinary development research (TDR), if approached in particular ways, can produce new knowledge and also foster deeper systemic changes in the knowledge system itself. We are concerned with systemic change that supports propoor sustainability transformations, and conceptualize the processes that contribute to this type of systemic change as "transformative space making" (TSM). Transdisciplinary development research as TSM can generate possibilities for the integration of diverse knowledges into decision making, while also creating new...
“The squeaky wheel gets the grease”? The conflict imperative and the slow fight against environmental injustice in northern Peruvian Amazon
18. Juli 2018 Orta-Mart?nez, M., Pellegrini, L., Arsel, M. Research
We chronicle a four-decades-long struggle that has been taking place in the Peruvian Amazon between indigenous groups, oil companies, and the state. We provide a broad overview of the strategies of the communities in the area, juxtaposing the outcomes of different negotiating strategies. In addition to documenting what is an especially important case of socio-environmental conflict in the Peruvian Amazon, we go beyond the dominant approach in the literature, which sees dialogue as inherently desirable and conflict as necessarily unwelcome, and describe the Achuar decision to engage in open...
Traditional Ecological Knowledge as a tool for biocultural landscape restoration in northern Veracruz, Mexico: a case study in El Tajín region
17. Juli 2018 Vel?zquez-Rosas, N., Silva-Rivera, E., Ruiz-Guerra, B., Armenta-Montero, S., Trejo Gonz?lez, J. Research
Zuelania guidonia is a tree species of cultural importance in Totonac society. This tree is a central element of the Los Voladores (the “flying men”) pre-Hispanic ritual ceremony. However, the populations of Z. guidonia have decreased due to anthropogenic activity. This study aimed to codesign an agroforestry model for the recovery of Z. guidonia populations by combining scientific and traditional agroforestry knowledge at the El Tajín archaeological site in Veracruz, Mexico. We assessed the abundance of Z. guidonia and analyzed plant species richness and diversity in...
Increasing social-ecological resilience within small-scale agriculture in conflict-affected Guatemala
16. Juli 2018 Hellin, J., Ratner, B. D., Meinzen-Dick, R., Lopez-Ridaura, S. Research
Climate change scenarios suggest largely detrimental impacts on agricultural production from a deterioration of renewable natural resources. Over the last 15 years, a new field of research has focused on the interactions between climate and conflict risk, particularly as it relates to competition over natural resources and livelihoods. Within this field, there has been less attention to the potential for resource competition to be managed in ways that yield greater cooperation, local adaptation capacity, social-ecological resilience, and conflict mitigation or prevention. The challenge of...