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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.
Understanding process, power, and meaning in adaptive governance: a critical institutional reading
27. Juni 2018 Cleaver, F., Whaley, L. Synthesis
Adaptive governance continues to attract considerable interest in academic and policy circles. This is with good reason, given its increasing relevance in a globalized and changing world. At the same time, adaptive governance is the subject of a growing body of critical literature concerned with the ways in which it theorizes the social world. In this paper, we respond to these critiques, which we see as broadly concerning the process, power, and meaning dimensions of environmental and natural resource governance. We argue that adaptive governance theory would benefit from engaging...
The network structure of multilevel water resources governance in Central America
27. Juni 2018 Hileman, J., Lubell, M. Research
The acceleration of changes in global water resource systems is exacerbating the ability of governance institutions to adapt, particularly in developing world regions. We highlight one of the key challenges to resilience in environmental governance—coordinating governance processes within and across multiple interacting geographic levels—and investigate structures of local, regional, and multilevel water governance networks using empirical data from Central America. We examined hypotheses of multilevel governance network structure and function using descriptive statistics and...
Flexible water allocations and rotational delivery combined adapt irrigation systems to drought
26. Juni 2018 Cody, K. C. Research
Self-governing irrigation systems are integral to global food security and face serious problems under climate change. This is particularly true in areas expected to become more arid such as the Southwestern United States, where restrictive water rights are strictly enforced. Adaptations to these dual climatic and legal challenges include user-selected rules. In particular, during water shortage self-governing irrigation systems often change water allocations between members and rotate water delivery. However, it is unclear how these rules interact with each other as configurations and...
Promoting agency for social-ecological transformation: a transformation-lab in the Xochimilco social-ecological system
25. Juni 2018 Charli-Joseph, L., Siqueiros-Garcia, J., Eakin, H., Manuel-Navarrete, D., Shelton, R. Insight
Experiments to create spaces for social-ecological transformation are multiplying. These experiments aim at transcending traditional spaces for rational deliberation, planning, and participatory decision-making. We present a methodological approach for triggering the emergence of “transformation laboratories” (T-labs), which are participatory spaces where new agency is activated in relation to a stagnant sustainability challenge to generate intentional bottom-up transformations. We applied a set of participatory research tools to elicit current perceptions and foster personal...
Feedback of telecoupling: the case of a payments for ecosystem services program
25. Juni 2018 Yang, H., Lupi, F., Zhang, J., Chen, X., Liu, J. Research
Around the globe, previously isolated rural areas are increasingly connected with other distant places (e.g., cities) by telecouplings (i.e., environmental and socioeconomic interactions over distances) such as payments for ecosystem services (PES) programs, labor migration, and tourism. Although many studies have estimated impacts of telecouplings in rural areas, little is known about how these impacts might in turn affect telecouplings themselves through feedbacks. Using household survey data collected in China’s Wolong Nature Reserve for giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), we...
Sustainably managing freshwater resources
25. Juni 2018 Greenhalgh, S., Samarasinghe, O. Guest Editorial
Safe operating space for humanity at a regional scale
18. Juni 2018 McLaughlin, J. F. Research
The planetary boundaries framework defined safe limits to human impacts on essential Earth-system processes. Subsequent assessments concluded that impacts exceed most delineated boundaries. Societal responses to these results have been insufficient to restore safety. One factor impeding effective action is differences in scale between planetary boundaries and national, regional, or local scales where many impacts and solutions originate. I have contributed toward a resolution by developing a regional scale framework and an approach to translate boundaries across spatial scales. I...
Flows of change: dynamic water rights and water access in peri-urban Kathmandu
13. Juni 2018 Shrestha, A., Roth, D., Joshi, D. Research
Urbanization and the changing climate are increasingly influencing people’s access to land and water. Changes in use of, and rights and access to, land and water are most acutely experienced in peri-urban areas. We analyze these changes in peri-urban Kathmandu, Nepal. Increasing pressures on land and growing water needs of an expanding population in Kathmandu Valley are creating new patterns of water use, water-related conflicts, and (in)securities. We use two case studies that are characteristic of these changes, with a focus on the microlevel redefinitions of, and struggles about...
Agent-based modeling of environment-migration linkages: a review
12. Juni 2018 Thober, J., Schwarz, N., Hermans, K. Research
Environmental change can lead to human migration and vice versa. Agent-based models (ABMs) are valuable tools to study these linkages because they can represent individual migration decisions of human actors. Indeed, there is an increasing, yet small, number of ABMs that consider the natural environment in rural migration processes. Therefore, we reviewed 15 ABMs of environment-migration linkages in rural contexts to synthesize the current state of the art. The reviewed ABMs are mostly applied in tropical contexts, serve a wide range of purposes, and cover diverse scales and types of...
Avoiding paradigm drifts in IPBES: reconciling “nature’s contributions to people,” biodiversity, and ecosystem services
12. Juni 2018 Faith, D. P. Response
The dynamic relationship between sense of place and risk perception in landscapes of mobility
12. Juni 2018 Quinn, T., Bousquet, F., Guerbois, C., Sougrati, E., Tabutaud, M. Insight
Coastal areas are exposed to changing patterns of mobility and increasingly extreme weather events, offering unique opportunities to study the complexity of adaptation to global changes and the diversity of responses to risk. How individuals and communities respond to risk varies widely, however traditional rationalist and economic based understandings have proved limited in explaining responses to risk. Increasingly social science, and specifically, a focus on peoples’ relationships with their local places is providing a useful approach to understanding human responses to place...
Navigating emergence and system reflexivity as key transformative capacities: experiences from a Global Fellowship program
12. Juni 2018 Moore, M., Olsson, P., Nilsson, W., Rose, L., Westley, F. R. Research
The distinction between adaptive and transformative capacities is still not well understood, and in this study we aimed to build a transformative learning space to strengthen transformative capacities. We proposed that two capacities will be essential to transformation: the capacity to navigate emergence and cross-scale systems reflexivity. We outline our efforts to design and deliver a Global Fellowship program in social innovation, intended to strengthen these two capacities among practitioners already engaged in socially innovative work. Results indicated that the concepts, frameworks...
Whose right to manage? Distribution of property rights affects equity and power dynamics in comanagement
12. Juni 2018 Ayers, A. L., Kittinger, J. N., Vaughan, M. Blaich Research
Rights-based management approaches are being increasingly applied to global fisheries as an alternative to deficiencies associated with centralized or top-down management. In fisheries, these approaches may include a diversity of methods such as catch shares, territorial user rights for fishing, individual transferable quotas, fisheries concessions, cooperatives, and comanagement. Many of these approaches are being implemented in small-scale fisheries contexts, without full consideration of how the legacy of previous governing institutions or tenure arrangements may affect implementation...
Cross-level linkages in an ecology of climate change adaptation policy games
04. Juni 2018 Hamilton, M., Lubell, M., Namaganda, E. Research
Social and ecological outcomes of environmental governance systems are shaped by interplay across the spatial levels at which policy actors and decision-making forums operate. We focus on the conditions under which actors participate in policy forums operating at higher or lower levels than the actors’ own level. We draw upon theories of network science and transaction costs to formulate and test predictions about the overall prevalence of such cross-level linkages as well as the conditions under which policy actors engage in these linkages. We estimate an exponential random graph...
A multiscale gaming approach to understand farmer’s decision making in the boom of maize cultivation in Laos
01. Juni 2018 Ornetsm?ller, C., Castella, J., Verburg, P. H. Research
In Southeast Asia, the rapid expansion of boom crops like hybrid maize, rubber, oil palm, or banana, has brought about daunting environmental and socioeconomic impacts such as deforestation, land degradation, and indebtedness. Why do farmers engage in and keep on pursuing this farming strategy despite the adverse effects on local landscapes and livelihoods? In the context of the northern uplands of Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), we developed an innovative approach to understanding the decisions that lead to the emergence of the maize boom. We successively studied the...
Small-scale innovations in coastal communities: shell-handicraft as a way to empower women and decrease poverty
01. Juni 2018 Fr?cklin, S., Jiddawi, N. S., De la Torre-Castro, M. Research
We analyzed the potential of small-scale innovations, such as shell-handicraft, as a way to foster transformation toward sustainability, decrease poverty, and increase women’s empowerment in Zanzibar, Tanzania. The shell-handicraft project was founded by USAID in 2006 and was introduced as an alternative livelihood to low-paid seaweed farming and invertebrate harvesting activities. The main objective, however, was to not only alleviate poverty and empower women, but also to improve management of coastal resources, and allegedly by doing so, break poverty traps. To analyze the...
Designing for resilience: permaculture as a transdisciplinary methodology in applied resilience research
01. Juni 2018 Henfrey, T. W. Research
In this paper I examine the relationship between resilience research and permaculture, a system for the design and creation of human habitats, organizations, and projects rooted in ethics of sustainability, well-being, and equity. I argue that applying permaculture as a tool in research design can enable research to contribute more directly, immediately, and effectively to building community resilience. I explore this argument with reference to three case studies of research projects that involve permaculture as both research topic and methodology, at multiple geographical scales. Each of...
A brave new world: integrating well-being and conservation
30. Mai 2018 Biedenweg, K., Gross-Camp, N. D. Guest Editorial
Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World promised an enduring, happy society as long as it followed rigid, scientifically defined social rules. Just as this supposed utopia led to immense human suffering as people were constrained to predefined societal roles with limited opportunity for self-expression, conservation initiatives that impose predefined conceptions of well-being onto the poor and politically disadvantaged will meet with tenuous success. In this special feature, we provide a selection of studies that address the how and why of integrating human well-being into conservation...
Opportunities and obstacles to socioecosystem-based environmental policy in Mexico: expert opinion at the science-policy interface
29. Mai 2018 Challenger, A., Cordova, A., Lazos Chavero, E., Equihua, M., Maass, M. Research
The urgent need to revert the ecological and social equity crises of the current development model and realize the potential of sustainable development has led several disciplines to converge on the socioecosystem concept as the most appropriate theoretical framework for research and public policy. The socioecosystem approach recognizes that social systems are integrated with natural systems and seeks to adaptively comanage socioecosystem coevolution for the sustainable development of both systems. We hypothesize that incorporation of this approach into environmental policy in Mexico could...
Deforestation and local sustainable development in Brazilian Legal Amazonia: an exploratory analysis
28. Mai 2018 Sathler, D., Adamo, S. B., Lima, E. E. C. Research
We focus here on deforestation and human development dynamics among 211 small and medium-sized municipalities (in terms of population) in the Amazonian arc of deforestation, Brazil. First, we construct a typology of municipalities through principal component analysis and cluster analysis. Using this typology, we seek to identify changing deforestation frontiers in the study area based not only on forest loss levels, but also on sets of socioeconomic and demographic elements associated with human development. We find four well-defined macro-deforestation frontiers that exhibit distinct...