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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 ...

Contributors
Childs, Cameron, York, Abigail, White, Dave, et al.
Created Date
2013

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 ...

Contributors
Ban, Natalie C., Boyd, Emily, Cox, Michael, et al.
Created Date
2015

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 ...

Contributors
Ban, Natalie C., Evans, Louisa S., Nenadovic, Mateja, et al.
Created Date
2015

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 ...

Contributors
Chai, Ying, Schoon, Michael, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, et al.
Created Date
2016-02-01

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 ...

Contributors
Taggart-Hodge, Tanya D., Schoon, Michael, ASU-SFI Center for Biosocial Complex Systems, et al.
Created Date
2016

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 ...

Contributors
Evans, Louisa S., Ban, Natalie C., Schoon, Michael, et al.
Created Date
2013-11-30

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 ...

Contributors
Epstein, Graham, Perez Ibarra, Irene, Schoon, Michael, et al.
Created Date
2013-11-30

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 ...

Contributors
Norstrom, Albert V., Dannenberg, Astrid, McCarney, Geoff, et al.
Created Date
2013-11-30