Matching Items (10)

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Measuring the sustainability of protected area-based tourism systems: a multimethod approach

Description

This research assessed the sustainability of protected area-based tourism systems in Nepal. The research was composed of three interrelated studies. The first study evaluated different approaches to protected area governance.

This research assessed the sustainability of protected area-based tourism systems in Nepal. The research was composed of three interrelated studies. The first study evaluated different approaches to protected area governance. This was a multiple-case study research involving three protected areas in Nepal: the Annapurna Conservation Area, Chitwan National Park, and the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area. Data were collected from various published and unpublished sources and supplemented with 55 face-to-face interviews. Results revealed that outcomes pertaining to biodiversity conservation, community livelihoods, and sustainable tourism vary across these protected areas. The study concluded that there is no institutional panacea for managing protected areas. The second study diagnosed the sustainability of tourism in two destination communities: Ghandruk and Sauraha, which are located within the Annapurna Conservation Area and Chitwan National Park, respectively. A systemic, holistic approach--the social-ecological system framework--was used to analyze the structures, processes, and outcomes of tourism development. Data collection involved 45 face-to-face semi-structured interviews and a review of published and unpublished documents. Results revealed that tourism has several positive and a few negative sociocultural, economic, and ecological outcomes in both communities. Overall, tourism has progressed towards sustainability in these destinations. The third study examined tourism stakeholders' perspectives regarding sustainable tourism outcomes in protected areas. The study compared the responses of residents with residents, as well as tourists with tourists, across the Annapurna Conservation Area and Chitwan National Park. Tourism sustainability was evaluated with six tourism impact subscales measuring negative and positive ecological, economic, and social impacts. Data were collected using the survey method. Respondents included 230 residents and 205 tourists in Annapurna, and 220 residents and 210 tourists in Chitwan. The findings revealed that the residents across these protected areas perceived positive and negative impacts differently, as did the tourists, suggesting that the form of tourism development affects the sustainability outcomes in protected areas. Overall, this research concluded that protected areas and tourism are intricately related, and sustainable management of a protected area-based tourism system requires a polycentric adaptive approach that warrants a broad participation of relevant stakeholders.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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The consequences of human land-use strategies during the PPNB-LN transition: a simulation modeling approach

Description

This dissertation investigates the long-term consequences of human land-use practices in general, and in early agricultural villages in specific. This pioneering case study investigates the "collapse" of the Early (Pre-Pottery)

This dissertation investigates the long-term consequences of human land-use practices in general, and in early agricultural villages in specific. This pioneering case study investigates the "collapse" of the Early (Pre-Pottery) Neolithic lifeway, which was a major transformational event marked by significant changes in settlement patterns, material culture, and social markers. To move beyond traditional narratives of cultural collapse, I employ a Complex Adaptive Systems approach to this research, and combine agent-based computer simulations of Neolithic land-use with dynamic and spatially-explicit GIS-based environmental models to conduct experiments into long-term trajectories of different potential Neolithic socio-environmental systems. My analysis outlines how the Early Neolithic "collapse" was likely instigated by a non-linear sequence of events, and that it would have been impossible for Neolithic peoples to recognize the long-term outcome of their actions. The experiment-based simulation approach shows that, starting from the same initial conditions, complex combinations of feedback amplification, stochasticity, responses to internal and external stimuli, and the accumulation of incremental changes to the socio-natural landscape, can lead to widely divergent outcomes over time. Thus, rather than being an inevitable consequence of specific Neolithic land-use choices, the "catastrophic" transformation at the end of the Early Neolithic was an emergent property of the Early Neolithic socio-natural system itself, and thus likely not an easily predictable event. In this way, my work uses the technique of simulation modeling to connect CAS theory with the archaeological and geoarchaeological record to help better understand the causes and consequences of socio-ecological transformation at a regional scale. The research is broadly applicable to other archaeological cases of resilience and collapse, and is truly interdisciplinary in that it draws on fields such as geomorphology, computer science, and agronomy in addition to archaeology.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Direct and indirect ecological consequences of human activities in urban and native ecosystems

Description

Though cities occupy only a small percentage of Earth's terrestrial surface, humans concentrated in urban areas impact ecosystems at local, regional and global scales. I examined the direct and

Though cities occupy only a small percentage of Earth's terrestrial surface, humans concentrated in urban areas impact ecosystems at local, regional and global scales. I examined the direct and indirect ecological outcomes of human activities on both managed landscapes and protected native ecosystems in and around cities. First, I used highly managed residential yards, which compose nearly half of the heterogeneous urban land area, as a model system to examine the ecological effects of people's management choices and the social drivers of those decisions. I found that a complex set of individual and institutional social characteristics drives people's decisions, which in turn affect ecological structure and function across scales from yards to cities. This work demonstrates the link between individuals' decision-making and ecosystem service provisioning in highly managed urban ecosystems.

Second, I examined the distribution of urban-generated air pollutants and their complex ecological outcomes in protected native ecosystems. Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), reactive nitrogen (N), and ozone (O3) are elevated near human activities and act as both resources and stressors to primary producers, but little is known about their co-occurring distribution or combined impacts on ecosystems. I investigated the urban "ecological airshed," including the spatial and temporal extent of N deposition, as well as CO2 and O3 concentrations in native preserves in Phoenix, Arizona and the outlying Sonoran Desert. I found elevated concentrations of ecologically relevant pollutants co-occur in both urban and remote native lands at levels that are likely to affect ecosystem structure and function. Finally, I tested the combined effects of CO2, N, and O3 on the dominant native and non-native herbaceous desert species in a multi-factor dose-response greenhouse experiment. Under current and predicted future air quality conditions, the non-native species (Schismus arabicus) had net positive growth despite physiological stress under high O3 concentrations. In contrast, the native species (Pectocarya recurvata) was more sensitive to O3 and, unlike the non-native species, did not benefit from the protective role of CO2. These results highlight the vulnerability of native ecosystems to current and future air pollution over the long term. Together, my research provides empirical evidence for future policies addressing multiple stressors in urban managed and native landscapes.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Patch to Landscape and Back Again: Three Case Studies of Land System Architecture Change and Environmental Consequences from the Local to Global Scale

Description

Humans have modified land systems for centuries in pursuit of a wide range of social and ecological benefits. Recent decades have seen an increase in the magnitude and scale of

Humans have modified land systems for centuries in pursuit of a wide range of social and ecological benefits. Recent decades have seen an increase in the magnitude and scale of land system modification (e.g., the Anthropocene) but also a growing recognition and interest in generating land systems that balance environmental and human well-being. This dissertation focused on three case studies operating at distinctive spatial scales in which broad socio-economic or political-institutional drivers affected land systems, with consequences for the environmental conditions of that system. Employing a land system architecture (LSA) framework and using landscape metrics to quantify landscape composition and configuration from satellite imagery, each case linked these drivers to changes in LSA and environmental outcomes.

The first paper of this dissertation found that divergent design intentions lead to unique trajectories for LSA, the urban heat island effect, and bird community at two urban riparian sites in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The second paper examined institutional shifts that occurred during Cuba’s “special period in time of peace” and found that the resulting land tenure changes both modified and maintained the LSA of the country, changing cropland but preserving forest land. The third paper found that globalized forces may be contributing to the homogenizing urban form of large, populous cities in China, India, and the United States—especially for the ten largest cities in each country—with implications for surface urban heat island intensity. Expanding knowledge on social drivers of land system and environmental change provides insights on designing landscapes that optimize for a range of social and ecological trade-offs.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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Ecology and the city: a long-term social-ecological examination of the drivers and diversity of urban vegetation

Description

Often, when thinking of cities we envision designed landscapes, where people regulate everything from water to weeds, ultimately resulting in an ecosystem decoupled from biophysical processes. It is unclear, however,

Often, when thinking of cities we envision designed landscapes, where people regulate everything from water to weeds, ultimately resulting in an ecosystem decoupled from biophysical processes. It is unclear, however, what happens when the people regulating these extensively managed landscapes come under stress, whether from unexpected economic fluctuations or from changing climate norms. The overarching question of my dissertation research was: How does urban vegetation change in response to human behavior? To answer this question, I conducted multiscale research in an arid urban ecosystem as well as in a virtual desert city. I used a combination of long-term data and agent-based modeling to examine changes in vegetation across a range of measures influenced by biophysical, climate, institutional, and socioeconomic drivers. At the regional scale, total plant species diversity increased from 2000 to 2010, while species composition became increasingly homogeneous in urban and agricultural areas. At the residential scale, I investigated the effects of biophysical and socioeconomic drivers – the Great Recession of 2007-2010 in particular – on changing residential yard vegetation in Phoenix, AZ. Socioeconomic drivers affected plant composition and increasing richness, but the housing boom from 2000 through 2005 had a stronger influence on vegetation change than the subsequent recession. Surprisingly, annual plant species remained coupled to winter precipitation despite my expectation that their dynamics might be driven by socioeconomic fluctuations. In a modeling experiment, I examined the relative strength of psychological, social, and governance influences on large-scale urban land cover in a desert city. Model results suggested that social norms may be strong enough to lead to large-scale conversion to low water use residential landscaping, and governance may be unnecessary to catalyze residential landscape conversion under the pressure of extreme drought conditions. Overall, my dissertation research showed that urban vegetation is dynamic, even under the presumably stabilizing influence of human management activities. Increasing climate pressure, unexpected socioeconomic disturbances, growing urban populations, and shifting policies all contribute to urban vegetation dynamics. Incorporating these findings into planning policies will contribute to the sustainable management of urban ecosystems.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Internal Stresses and Social Feedback Mechanisms in Social-Ecological Systems: A Multi-Method Approach to the Effectiveness of Exit and Voice

Description

My research is motivated by a rule of thumb that no matter how well a system is designed, some actors fail to fulfill the behavior which is needed to sustain

My research is motivated by a rule of thumb that no matter how well a system is designed, some actors fail to fulfill the behavior which is needed to sustain the system. Examples of misbehavior are shirking, rule infraction, and free riding. With a focus on social-ecological systems, this thesis explored the effectiveness of social feedback mechanisms driven by the two available individual options: the exit option is defined as any response to escape from an objectionable state of affairs; and the voice option as any attempt to stay put and improve the state. Using a stylized dynamic model, the first study investigates how the coexistence of participatory and groundwater market institutions affects government-managed irrigation systems. My findings suggest that patterns of bureaucratic reactions to exit (using private tubewells) and voice (putting pressure on irrigation bureaus) are critical to shaping system dynamics. I also found that the silence option – neither exit nor voice – can impede a further improvement in public infrastructure, but in some cases, can improve public infrastructure dramatically. Using a qualitative comparative analysis of 30 self-governing fishing groups in South Korea, the second study examines how resource mobility, group size, and Ostrom’s Design Principles for rule enforcement can co-determine the effectiveness of the voice option in self-controlling rule infractions. Results suggest that the informal mechanism for conflict resolution is a necessary condition for successful self-governance of local fisheries and that even if rules for monitoring and graduated sanctions are not in use, groups can be successful when they harvest only stationary resources. Using an agent-based model of public good provision, the third study explores under what socioeconomic conditions the exit option – neither producing nor consuming collective benefits – can work effectively to enhance levels of cooperation. The model results suggest that the exit option contributes to the spread of cooperators in mid- and large-size groups at the moderate level of exit payoff, given that group interaction occurs to increase the number of cooperators.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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Robust Conservation Anarchy: Comparing Treaty Institutional Design for Evidence of Ostrom’s Design Principles, Fit, and Polycentricity

Description

Institutions (rules, norms, and shared strategies) are social feedback systems that structure actors’ decision-making context. It is important to investigate institutional design to understand how rules interact and generate feedbacks

Institutions (rules, norms, and shared strategies) are social feedback systems that structure actors’ decision-making context. It is important to investigate institutional design to understand how rules interact and generate feedbacks that affect robustness, i.e., the ability to respond to change. This is particularly important when assessing sustainable use/conservation trade-offs that affect species’ long-term survival. My research utilized the institutional grammar (IG) and robust institutional design to investigate these linkages in the context of four international conservation treaties.

First, the IG was used to code the regulatory formal treaty rules. The coded statements were then assessed to determine the rule linkages and dynamic interactions with a focus on monitoring and related reporting and enforcement mechanisms. Treaties with a regulatory structure included a greater number and more tightly linked rules related to these mechanisms than less regulatory instruments. A higher number of actors involved in these activities at multiple levels also seemed critical to a well-functioning monitoring system.

Then, drawing on existing research, I built a set of constitutive rule typologies to supplement the IG and code the treaties’ constitutive rules. I determined the level of fit between the constitutive and regulatory rules by examining the monitoring mechanisms, as well as treaty opt-out processes. Treaties that relied on constitutive rules to guide actor decision-making generally exhibited gaps and poorer rule fit. Regimes which used constitutive rules to provide actors with information related to the aims, values, and context under which regulatory rules were being advanced tended to exhibit better fit, rule consistency, and completeness.

The information generated in the prior studies, as well as expert interviews, and the analytical frameworks of Ostrom’s design principles, fit, and polycentricity, then aided the analysis of treaty robustness. While all four treaties were polycentric, regulatory regimes exhibited strong information processing feedbacks as evidenced by the presence of all design principles (in form and as perceived by experts) making them theoretically more robust to change than non-regulatory ones. Interestingly, treaties with contested decision-making seemed more robust to change indicating contestation facilitates robust decision-making or its effects are ameliorated by rule design.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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Shifting the sustainability paradigm: co-creating thriving living systems through regenerative development

Description

Sustainability research and action in communities should be holistic, integrating sociocultural, biogeophysical, and spiritual components and their temporal and spatial dynamics toward the aim of co-creating thriving living systems. Yet

Sustainability research and action in communities should be holistic, integrating sociocultural, biogeophysical, and spiritual components and their temporal and spatial dynamics toward the aim of co-creating thriving living systems. Yet scientists and practitioners still struggle with such integration. Regenerative development (RD) offers a way forward. RD focuses on shifting the consciousness and thinking underlying (un)sustainability as well as their manifestation in the physical world, creating increasingly higher levels of health and vitality for all life across scales. However, tools are nascent and relatively insular. Until recently, no empirical scientific research studies had been published on RD processes and outcomes.

My dissertation fills this gap in three complementary studies. The first is an integrative review that contextualizes regenerative development within the fields of sustainability, sustainable design and development, and ecology by identifying its conceptual elements and introducing a regenerative landscape development paradigm. The second study integrates complex adaptive systems science, ecology, sustainability, and regenerative development to construct and pilot the first iteration of a holistic sustainable development evaluation tool—the Regenerative Development Evaluation Tool—in two river restoration projects. The third study builds upon the first two, integrating scientific knowledge with existing RD and sustainable community design and development practices and theory to construct and pilot a Regenerative Community Development (RCD) Framework. Results indicate that the RCD Framework and Tools, when used within a regenerative landscape development paradigm, can facilitate: (1) shifts in thinking and development and design outcomes to holistic and regenerative ones; (2) identification of areas where development and design projects can become more regenerative and ways to do so; and (3) identification of factors that potentially facilitate and impede RCD processes. Overall, this research provides a direction and tools for holistic sustainable development as well as foundational studies for further research.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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Attitudes towards ecosystem services in urban riparian parks

Description

Urban sustainability is a critical component of sustainable human societies. Urban riparian parks are used here as a case study seeking to understand the social-ecological relationships between the subjective evaluation

Urban sustainability is a critical component of sustainable human societies. Urban riparian parks are used here as a case study seeking to understand the social-ecological relationships between the subjective evaluation of ecosystem services and the vision and management of one kind of green infrastructure. This study explored attitudes towards ecosystem services, asking whether 1) the tripartite model is an effective framing to measure attitudes towards ecosystem services; 2) what the attitudes towards ecosystem services are and whether they differ between two types of park space; and 3) what the relationship is between management and the attitudinal assessment of ecosystem services by park users. A questionnaire was administered to 104 urban riparian park users in Phoenix, AZ evaluating their attitudes towards refugia, aesthetics, microclimate and stormwater regulation, and recreational and educational opportunities. The operationalization of the tripartite model was validated and found reliable, but may not be the whole story in determining attitudes towards ecosystem services. All components of attitude were positive, but attitudes were stronger in a habitat rehabilitation area with densely planted native species and low flows, than in a more classic park with mowed lawns and scattered vegetation, a mix of native and non-native species, and open water. Park users were more positive towards refugia, stormwater regulation, recreation, and educational opportunities in the habitat rehabilitation area. On the other hand, microclimate regulation and aesthetic qualities were valued similarly between the two parks. Most attitudes supported management goals, however park users valued stormwater regulation less than managers. Qualitative answers suggest that the quality of human interactions differ between the parks and park users consider both elements of society and the physical environment in their subjective evaluations. These findings reveal that park users highly value ecosystem services and that park design and management mediates social-ecological relationships, which should at least underlie the context of economic discussions of service value. This study supports the provision of ecosystem services through green infrastructure and suggests that an integration of park designs throughout urban areas could provide both necessary services as well as expand the platform for social-ecological interactions.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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The semiotic nature of power in social-ecological systems

Description

Anderies (2015); Anderies et al. (2016), informed by Ostrom (2005), aim to employ robust

feedback control models of social-ecological systems (SESs), to inform policy and the

design of institutions guiding resilient resource

Anderies (2015); Anderies et al. (2016), informed by Ostrom (2005), aim to employ robust

feedback control models of social-ecological systems (SESs), to inform policy and the

design of institutions guiding resilient resource use. Cote and Nightingale (2012) note that

the main assumptions of resilience research downplay culture and social power. Addressing

the epistemic gap between positivism and interpretation (Rosenberg 2016), this dissertation

argues that power and culture indeed are of primary interest in SES research.

Human use of symbols is seen as an evolved semiotic capacity. First, representation is

argued to arise as matter achieves semiotic closure (Pattee 1969; Rocha 2001) at the onset

of natural selection. Guided by models by Kauffman (1993), the evolution of a symbolic

code in genes is examined, and thereon the origin of representations other than genetic

in evolutionary transitions (Maynard Smith and Szathmáry 1995; Beach 2003). Human

symbolic interaction is proposed as one that can support its own evolutionary dynamics.

The model offered for wider dynamics in society are “flywheels,” mutually reinforcing

networks of relations. They arise as interactions in a domain of social activity intensify, e.g.

due to interplay of infrastructures, mediating built, social, and ecological affordances (An-

deries et al. 2016). Flywheels manifest as entities facilitated by the simplified interactions

(e.g. organizations) and as cycles maintaining the infrastructures (e.g. supply chains). They

manifest internal specialization as well as distributed intention, and so can favor certain

groups’ interests, and reinforce cultural blind spots to social exclusion (Mills 2007).

The perspective is applied to research of resilience in SESs, considering flywheels a

semiotic extension of feedback control. Closer attention to representations of potentially

excluded groups is justified on epistemic in addition to ethical grounds, as patterns in cul-

tural text and social relations reflect the functioning of wider social processes. Participatory

methods are suggested to aid in building capacity for institutional learning.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017