This growing collection consists of scholarly works authored by ASU-affiliated faculty, students, and community members, and it contains many open access articles. ASU-affiliated authors are encouraged to Share Your Work in KEEP.

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Navigating a Murky Adaptive Comanagement Governance Network: Agua Fria Watershed, Arizona, USA

Description

Adaptive comanagement endeavors to increase knowledge and responsiveness in the face of uncertainty and complexity. However, when collaboration between agency and nonagency stakeholders is mandated, rigid institutions may hinder participation

Adaptive comanagement endeavors to increase knowledge and responsiveness in the face of uncertainty and complexity. However, when collaboration between agency and nonagency stakeholders is mandated, rigid institutions may hinder participation and ecological outcomes. In this case study we analyzed qualitative data to understand how participants perceive strengths and challenges within an emerging adaptive comanagement in the Agua Fria Watershed in Arizona, USA that utilizes insight and personnel from a long-enduring comanagement project, Las Cienegas. Our work demonstrates that general lessons and approaches from one project may be transferable, but particular institutions, management structures, or projects must be place-specific. As public agencies establish and expand governance networks throughout the western United States, our case study has shed light on how to maintain a shared vision and momentum within an inherently murky and shared decision-making environment.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Linking classroom learning and research to advance ideas about social-ecological resilience

Description

There is an increasing demand in higher education institutions for training in complex environmental problems. Such training requires a careful mix of conventional methods and innovative solutions, a task not

There is an increasing demand in higher education institutions for training in complex environmental problems. Such training requires a careful mix of conventional methods and innovative solutions, a task not always easy to accomplish. In this paper we review literature on this theme, highlight relevant advances in the pedagogical literature, and report on some examples resulting from our recent efforts to teach complex environmental issues. The examples range from full credit courses in sustainable development and research methods to project-based and in-class activity units. A consensus from the literature is that lectures are not sufficient to fully engage students in these issues. A conclusion from the review of examples is that problem-based and project-based, e.g., through case studies, experiential learning opportunities, or real-world applications, learning offers much promise. This could greatly be facilitated by online hubs through which teachers, students, and other members of the practitioner and academic community share experiences in teaching and research, the way that we have done here.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Interplay of multiple goods, ecosystem services, and property rights in large social-ecological marine protected areas

Description

Protected areas are a cornerstone of biodiversity conservation, and increasingly, conservation science is integrating ecological and social considerations in park management. Indeed, both social and ecological factors need to be

Protected areas are a cornerstone of biodiversity conservation, and increasingly, conservation science is integrating ecological and social considerations in park management. Indeed, both social and ecological factors need to be considered to understand processes that lead to changes in environmental conditions. Here, we use a social-ecological systems lens to examine changes in governance through time in an extensive regional protected area network, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. We studied the peer-reviewed and nonpeer-reviewed literature to develop an understanding of governance of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and its management changes through time. In particular, we examined how interacting and changing property rights, as designated by the evolving marine protected area network and other institutional changes (e.g., fisheries management), defined multiple goods and ecosystem services and altered who could benefit from them. The rezoning of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in 2004 substantially altered the types and distribution of property rights and associated benefits from ecosystem goods and services. Initially, common-pool resources were enjoyed as common and private benefits at the expense of public goods (overexploited fisheries and reduced biodiversity and ecosystem health). The rezoning redefined the available goods and benefits and who could benefit, prioritizing public goods and benefits (i.e., biodiversity conservation), and inducing private costs (through reduced fishing). We also found that the original conceptualization of the step-wise progression of property rights from user to owner oversimplifies property rights based on its division into operational and collective-choice rule-making levels. Instead, we suggest that a diversity of available management tools implemented simultaneously can result in interactions that are seldom fully captured by the original conceptualization of the bundling of property rights. Understanding the complexities associated with overlapping property rights and multiple goods and ecosystem services, particularly within large-scale systems, can help elucidate the source and nature of some of the governance challenges that large protected areas are facing.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Institutions and government efficiency: decentralized Irrigation management in China

Description

In order to improve the efficiency of government spending, it is necessary for the decentralized irrigation management to gain support from local institutions. Efficient institutions take on several distinct configurations

In order to improve the efficiency of government spending, it is necessary for the decentralized irrigation management to gain support from local institutions. Efficient institutions take on several distinct configurations in different irrigation districts. In this research, we upgrade Tang’s (1992) framework focusing on incentives, to a framework that includes institutional incentives and coordination. Within the framework, we then classify 5 institutional variables: water pricing reform (P), government funding (F), coordination by administration (C), having formal monitors (M) and self-organized management (S). This article processes the data obtained through a field survey (2009–2011) in 20 of China’s southern counties, where they implement the “Small-scale Irrigation and Water Conservancy Key Counties Construction (Key Counties Construction)”, a national project supported by the central government. Next, it applies Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) to measure the efficiency of government spending and uses Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) to extract efficient institutional configurations. It concludes that there are generally three types of institutional configurations able to improve the efficiency of government spending, which are respectively: “government funding combined with coordination by administration”, “water pricing reform combined with self-organized management and coordination by administration or water pricing reform combined with self-organized management and government funding and formal monitors” and “self-organized management”. Among these, the second configuration is a mixed governance structure with multiple institutions coexisting, and this configuration occurs in the most efficient key counties. For that reason, it is viewed as the mainstream irrigation management approach, and we expect it to be the development trend in the future. Although Chinese irrigation policies are formalizing effective local institutions, they are still not sufficient. Future policies are needed to 1) promote institutions of government support for water laws in order to build stable expectations for both water user associations (WUAs) and farmers, 2) guide water pricing reform by ensuring farmers’ water rights and regulating water markets, and 3) provide opportunities for hiring professional monitors and crafting formal rules.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-02-01

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The challenges and opportunities of transboundary cooperation through the lens of the East Carpathians Biosphere Reserve

Description

A significant challenge of our time is conserving biological diversity while maintaining economic development and cultural values. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has established biosphere reserves within

A significant challenge of our time is conserving biological diversity while maintaining economic development and cultural values. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has established biosphere reserves within its Man and the Biosphere program as a model means for accomplishing this very challenge. The East Carpathians Biosphere Reserve (ECBR), spreading across Poland, Slovakia, and Ukraine, represents a large social-ecological system (SES) that has been protected under the biosphere reserve designation since 1998. We have explored its successes and failures in improving human livelihoods while safeguarding its ecosystems. The SES framework, which includes governance system, actors, resources, and external influences, was used as a frame of analysis. The outcomes of this protected area have been mixed; its creation led to national and international collaboration, yet some actor groups remain excluded. Implementation of protocols arising from the Carpathian Convention has been slow, while deforestation, hunting, erosion, temperature extremes, and changes in species behavior remain significant threats but have also been factors in ecological adaptation. The loss of cultural links and traditional knowledge has also been significant. Nevertheless, this remains a highly biodiverse area. Political barriers and institutional blockages will have to be removed to ensure this reserve fulfills its role as a model region for international collaboration and capacity building. These insights drawn from the ECBR demonstrate that biosphere reserves are indeed learning sites for sustainable development and that this case is exemplary in illustrating the challenges, but more importantly, the opportunities that arise when ensuring parallel care and respect for people and ecosystems through the model of transboundary protected areas around the world.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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Synthesis: Vulnerability, Traps, and Transformations—Long-term Perspectives from Archaeology

Description

In this synthesis, we hope to accomplish two things: 1) reflect on how the analysis of the new archaeological cases presented in this special feature adds to previous case studies

In this synthesis, we hope to accomplish two things: 1) reflect on how the analysis of the new archaeological cases presented in this special feature adds to previous case studies by revisiting a set of propositions reported in a 2006 special feature, and 2) reflect on four main ideas that are more specific to the archaeological cases: i) societal choices are influenced by robustness–vulnerability trade-offs, ii) there is interplay between robustness–vulnerability trade-offs and robustness–performance trade-offs, iii) societies often get locked in to particular strategies, and iv) multiple positive feedbacks escalate the perceived cost of societal change. We then discuss whether these lock-in traps can be prevented or whether the risks associated with them can be mitigated. We conclude by highlighting how these long-term historical studies can help us to understand current society, societal practices, and the nexus between ecology and society.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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Keeping the 'Great' in the Great Barrier Reef: large-scale governance of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Description

As part of an international collaboration to compare large-scale commons, we used the Social-Ecological Systems Meta-Analysis Database (SESMAD) to systematically map out attributes of and changes in the Great Barrier

As part of an international collaboration to compare large-scale commons, we used the Social-Ecological Systems Meta-Analysis Database (SESMAD) to systematically map out attributes of and changes in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP) in Australia. We focus on eight design principles from common-pool resource (CPR) theory and other key social-ecological systems governance variables, and explore to what extent they help explain the social and ecological outcomes of park management through time. Our analysis showed that commercial fisheries management and the re-zoning of the GBRMP in 2004 led to improvements in ecological condition of the reef, particularly fisheries. These boundary and rights changes were supported by effective monitoring, sanctioning and conflict resolution. Moderate biophysical connectivity was also important for improved outcomes. However, our analysis also highlighted that continued challenges to improved ecological health in terms of coral cover and biodiversity can be explained by fuzzy boundaries between land and sea, and the significance of external drivers to even large-scale social-ecological systems (SES). While ecological and institutional fit in the marine SES was high, this was not the case when considering the coastal SES. Nested governance arrangements become even more important at this larger scale. To our knowledge, our paper provides the first analysis linking the re-zoning of the GBRMP to CPR and SES theory. We discuss important challenges to coding large-scale systems for meta-analysis.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013-11-30

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Governing the invisible commons: Ozone regulation and the Montreal Protocol

Description

The Montreal Protocol is generally credited as a successful example of international cooperation in response to a global environmental problem. As a result, the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances

The Montreal Protocol is generally credited as a successful example of international cooperation in response to a global environmental problem. As a result, the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances has declined rapidly, and it is expected that atmospheric ozone concentrations will return to their normal ranges toward the end of this century. This paper applies the social-ecological system framework and common-pool resource theory to explore the congruence between successful resolution of small-scale appropriation problems and ozone regulation, a large-scale pollution problem. The results of our analysis correspond closely to past studies of the Protocol that highlight the importance of attributes such as a limited number of major industrial producers, advances in scientific knowledge, and the availability of technological substitutes. However, in contrast to previous theoretical accounts that focus on one or a few variables, our analysis suggests that its success may have been the result of interactions between a wider range of SES attributes, many of which are associated with successful small-scale environmental governance. Although carefully noting the limitations of drawing conclusions from the analysis of a single case, our analysis reveals the potential for fruitful interplay between common-pool resource theory and large-scale pollution problems.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013-11-30

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Three necessary conditions for establishing effective Sustainable Development Goals in the Anthropocene

Description

The purpose of the United Nations-guided process to establish Sustainable Development Goals is to galvanize governments and civil society to rise to the interlinked environmental, societal, and economic challenges we

The purpose of the United Nations-guided process to establish Sustainable Development Goals is to galvanize governments and civil society to rise to the interlinked environmental, societal, and economic challenges we face in the Anthropocene. We argue that the process of setting Sustainable Development Goals should take three key aspects into consideration. First, it should embrace an integrated social-ecological system perspective and acknowledge the key dynamics that such systems entail, including the role of ecosystems in sustaining human wellbeing, multiple cross-scale interactions, and uncertain thresholds. Second, the process needs to address trade-offs between the ambition of goals and the feasibility in reaching them, recognizing biophysical, social, and political constraints. Third, the goal-setting exercise and the management of goal implementation need to be guided by existing knowledge about the principles, dynamics, and constraints of social change processes at all scales, from the individual to the global. Combining these three aspects will increase the chances of establishing and achieving effective Sustainable Development Goals.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013-11-30