Matching Items (4)

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Towards Water Sensitive Cities in the Colorado River Basin: A Comparative Historical Analysis to Inform Future Urban Water Sustainability Transitions

Description

Many population centers in the American West rely on water from the Colorado River Basin, which has faced shortages in recent years that are anticipated to be exacerbated by climate

Many population centers in the American West rely on water from the Colorado River Basin, which has faced shortages in recent years that are anticipated to be exacerbated by climate change. Shortages to urban water supplies related to climate change will not be limited to cities dependent on the Colorado River. Considering this, addressing sustainable water governance is timely and critical for cities, states, and regions facing supply shortages and pollution problems. Engaging in sustainability transitions of these hydro-social systems will increase the ability of such systems to meet the water needs of urban communities. In this paper, we identify historical transitions in water governance and examine their context for three sites in the Colorado River Basin (Denver, Colorado, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Phoenix, Arizona) to provide insight for intentional transitions towards sustainable, or “water sensitive” cities. The comparative historical approach employed allows us to more fully understand differences in present-day water governance decisions between the sites, identify past catalysts for transitions, and recognize emerging patterns and opportunities that may impact current and future water governance in the Colorado River Basin and beyond.

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  • 2017-05-06

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De jure versus de facto institutions: trust, information, and collective efforts to manage the invasive mile-a-minute weed (Mikania micrantha)

Description

Differences in governance relationships and community efforts to remove an exotic, rapidly spreading invasive plant, the-mile-a-minute weed (Mikania micrantha), are explored in five case study community forests in the subtropical

Differences in governance relationships and community efforts to remove an exotic, rapidly spreading invasive plant, the-mile-a-minute weed (Mikania micrantha), are explored in five case study community forests in the subtropical region of Chitwan, Nepal. An institutional analysis informs an examination of the de jure (formal) versus de facto (on the ground) institutions and actor relationships relevant to Mikania removal efforts. Contrary to the expectations set by the de jure situation, we find heterogeneous governance relationships and norms related to Mikania management across community forests. Content analysis of interview data illuminates reoccurring themes and their implications for social and ecological outcomes in the communities. Complex governance relationships and regular discussion of distrust of government and non-government officials help explain collective action efforts and management decisions. The content analysis suggests that Mikania is impacting people’s daily lives but the degree of severity and the response to the disruption varies substantially and is heavily affected by other problems experienced by community forest members. Our results indicate that understanding how the de facto, or on the ground situation, differs from the de jure institutions may be vital in structuring successful efforts to manage invasive species and understanding collective action problems related to other social-ecological threats. We present data-informed propositions about common pool resource management and invasive species. This study contributes to a better scientific understanding of how institutions mediate social-ecological challenges influencing common pool resources more broadly.

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  • 2017-03-06

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Cooperation across Organizational Boundaries: Experimental Evidence from a Major Sustainability Science Project

Description

Engaged research emphasizes researcher–stakeholder collaborations as means of improving the relevance of research outcomes and the chances for science-based decision-making. Sustainability science, as a form of engaged research, depends on

Engaged research emphasizes researcher–stakeholder collaborations as means of improving the relevance of research outcomes and the chances for science-based decision-making. Sustainability science, as a form of engaged research, depends on the collaborative abilities and cooperative tendencies of researchers. We use an economic experiment to measure cooperation between university faculty, local citizens, and faculty engaged in a large sustainability science project to test a set of hypotheses: (1) faculty on the sustainability project will cooperate more with local residents than non-affiliated faculty, (2) sustainability faculty will have the highest level of internal cooperation of any group, and (3) that cooperation may vary due to academic training and culture in different departments amongst sustainability faculty. Our results demonstrate that affiliation with the sustainability project is not associated with differences in cooperation with local citizens or with in-group peers, but that disciplinary differences amongst sustainability faculty do correlate with cooperative tendencies within our sample. We also find that non-affiliated faculty cooperated less with each other than with faculty affiliated with the sustainability project. We conclude that economic experiments can be useful in discovering patterns of prosociality within institutional settings, and list challenges for further applications.

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Date Created
  • 2014-03-04

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Understanding governance dynamics in a social-ecological system: Chitwan community forests and the invasive mile-a-minute weed

Description

Employing an interdisciplinary approach with a grounding in new institutional economics, this dissertation investigates how institutions, as shared rules, norms, and strategies, mediate social-ecological outcomes in a system exposed to

Employing an interdisciplinary approach with a grounding in new institutional economics, this dissertation investigates how institutions, as shared rules, norms, and strategies, mediate social-ecological outcomes in a system exposed to a novel threat in the form of a rapidly growing and especially destructive invasive plant, Mikania micrantha (Mikania). I explore whether and how communities (largely part of community forest user groups in the buffer zone of Chitwan National Park in Chitwan, Nepal) collectively act in the face of Mikania invasion. Collective action is vital to successful natural resource governance in a variety of contexts and systems globally. Understanding collective action and the role of institutions is especially important in the face of continued and amplifying global environmental changes impacting social-ecological systems, such as climate change and invasive species. Contributing to efforts to bolster knowledge of the role of collective action and institutions in social-ecological systems, this research first establishes that community forest governance and institutional arrangements are heterogeneous. I subsequently utilize content and institutional analyses to identify and address themes and norms related to Mikania management. The content analysis contributes an empirical study of the influence of trust in collective natural resource management efforts. Using two complementary econometric analyses of survey data from 1235 households, I additionally assess equity in access to community forest resources, an understudied area in the institutional literature, and the factors affecting collective action related to Mikania removal. Finally, an agent-based model of institutional change facilitates the comparison of two perspectives, rational choice and cultural diffusion, of how shared norms and strategies for Mikania management change over time, providing insight into institutional change generally. Results highlight the importance of trust and understanding the de facto, or on-the-ground institutions; the influence of perception on collective action; that integrating equity into institutional analyses may strengthen sustainable resource management efforts; and that rational choice is an unlikely mechanism of institutional change. The mixed-methods approach contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of the role of institutions and collective action in invasive species management and broadly to the scientific understanding of the role of institutions in mediating global environmental changes.

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Date Created
  • 2016