Matching Items (50)

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Social roles and performance of social-ecological systems: evidence from behavioral lab experiments

Description

Social roles are thought to play an important role in determining the capacity for collective action in a community regarding the use of shared resources. Here we report on the

Social roles are thought to play an important role in determining the capacity for collective action in a community regarding the use of shared resources. Here we report on the results of a study using a behavioral experimental approach regarding the relationship between social roles and the performance of social-ecological systems. The computer-based irrigation experiment that was the basis of this study mimics the decisions faced by farmers in small-scale irrigation systems. In each of 20 rounds, which are analogous to growing seasons, participants face a two-stage commons dilemma. First they must decide how much to invest in the public infrastructure, e.g., canals and water diversion structures. Second, they must decide how much to extract from the water made available by that public infrastructure. Each round begins with a 60-second communication period before the players make their investment and extraction decisions. By analyzing the chat messages exchanged among participants during the communication stage of the experiment, we coded up to three roles per participant using the scheme of seven roles known to be important in the literature: leader, knowledge generator, connector, follower, moralist, enforcer, and observer. Our study supports the importance of certain social roles (e.g., connector) previously highlighted by several case study analyses. However, using qualitative comparative analysis we found that none of the individual roles was sufficient for groups to succeed, i.e., to reach a certain level of group production. Instead, we found that a combination of at least five roles was necessary for success. In addition, in the context of upstream-downstream asymmetry, we observed a pattern in which social roles assumed by participants tended to differ by their positions. Although our work generated some interesting insights, further research is needed to determine how robust our findings are to different action situations, such as biophysical context, social network, and resource uncertainty.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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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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Agent

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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An iterative approach to case study analysis: insights from qualitative analysis of quantitative inconsistencies

Description

Large-N comparative studies have helped common pool resource scholars gain general insights into the factors that influence collective action and governance outcomes. However, these studies are often limited by missing

Large-N comparative studies have helped common pool resource scholars gain general insights into the factors that influence collective action and governance outcomes. However, these studies are often limited by missing data, and suffer from the methodological limitation that important information is lost when we reduce textual information to quantitative data. This study was motivated by nine case studies that appeared to be inconsistent with the expectation that the presence of Ostrom’s Design Principles increases the likelihood of successful common pool resource governance. These cases highlight the limitations of coding and analysing Large-N case studies. We examine two issues: 1) the challenge of missing data and 2) potential approaches that rely on context (which is often lost in the coding process) to address inconsistencies between empirical observations theoretical predictions. For the latter, we conduct a post-hoc qualitative analysis of a large-N comparative study to explore 2 types of inconsistencies: 1) cases where evidence for nearly all design principles was found, but available evidence led to the assessment that the CPR system was unsuccessful and 2) cases where the CPR system was deemed successful despite finding limited or no evidence for design principles. We describe inherent challenges to large-N comparative analysis to coding complex and dynamically changing common pool resource systems for the presence or absence of design principles and the determination of “success”. Finally, we illustrate how, in some cases, our qualitative analysis revealed that the identity of absent design principles explained inconsistencies hence de-facto reconciling such apparent inconsistencies with theoretical predictions. This analysis demonstrates the value of combining quantitative and qualitative analysis, and using mixed-methods approaches iteratively to build comprehensive methodological and theoretical approaches to understanding common pool resource governance in a dynamically changing context.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-09-09

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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 the performance of coupled infrastructure systems

Description

Institutions, the rules of the game that shape repeated human interactions, clearly play a critical role in helping groups avoid the inefficient use of shared resources such as fisheries, freshwater,

Institutions, the rules of the game that shape repeated human interactions, clearly play a critical role in helping groups avoid the inefficient use of shared resources such as fisheries, freshwater, and the assimilative capacity of the environment. Institutions, however, are intimately intertwined with the human, social, and biophysical context within which they operate. Scholars typically are careful to take this context into account when studying institutions and Ostrom’s Institutional Design Principles are a case in point. Scholars have tested whether Ostrom’s Design Principles, which specify broad relationships between institutional arrangements and context, actually support successful governance of shared resources. This article further contributes to this line of research by leveraging the notion of institutional design to outline a research trajectory focused on coupled infrastructure systems in which institutions are seen as one class of infrastructure among many that dynamically interact to produce outcomes over time.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016-09-23

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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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Aligning Key Concepts for Global Change Policy: Robustness, Resilience, and Sustainability

Description

Globalization, the process by which local social-ecological systems (SESs) are becoming linked in a global network, presents policy scientists and practitioners with unique and difficult challenges. Although local SESs can

Globalization, the process by which local social-ecological systems (SESs) are becoming linked in a global network, presents policy scientists and practitioners with unique and difficult challenges. Although local SESs can be extremely complex, when they become more tightly linked in the global system, complexity increases very rapidly as multi-scale and multi-level processes become more important. Here, we argue that addressing these multi-scale and multi-level challenges requires a collection of theories and models. We suggest that the conceptual domains of sustainability, resilience, and robustness provide a sufficiently rich collection of theories and models, but overlapping definitions and confusion about how these conceptual domains articulate with one another reduces their utility. We attempt to eliminate this confusion and illustrate how sustainability, resilience, and robustness can be used in tandem to address the multi-scale and multi-level challenges associated with global change.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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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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Building resilient pathways to transformation when “no one is in charge”: insights from Australia's Murray-Darling Basin

Description

Climate change and its interactions with complex socioeconomic dynamics dictate the need for decision makers to move from incremental adaptation toward transformation as societies try to cope with unprecedented and

Climate change and its interactions with complex socioeconomic dynamics dictate the need for decision makers to move from incremental adaptation toward transformation as societies try to cope with unprecedented and uncertain change. Developing pathways toward transformation is especially difficult in regions with multiple contested resource uses and rights, with diverse decision makers and rules, and where high uncertainty is generated by differences in stakeholders’ values, understanding of climate change, and ways of adapting. Such a region is the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia, from which we provide insights for developing a process to address these constraints. We present criteria for sequencing actions along adaptation pathways: feasibility of the action within the current decision context, its facilitation of other actions, its role in averting exceedance of a critical threshold, its robustness and resilience under diverse and unexpected shocks, its effect on future options, its lead time, and its effects on equity and social cohesion. These criteria could potentially enable development of multiple stakeholder-specific adaptation pathways through a regional collective action process. The actual implementation of these multiple adaptation pathways will be highly uncertain and politically difficult because of fixity of resource-use rights, unequal distribution of power, value conflicts, and the likely redistribution of benefits and costs. We propose that the approach we outline for building resilient pathways to transformation is a flexible and credible way of negotiating these challenges.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016