Wednesday 7
Social-Ecological Networks – an emerging transdisciplinary approach to study social-ecological systems
Orjan Bodin, Beatrice Crona
› 11:30 - 12:30 (1h)
Social-Ecological Networks – an emerging transdisciplinary approach to study social-ecological systems
Orjan Bodin  1@  , Beatrice Crona  1@  
1 : Stockholm Resilience Centre  (SRC)

The network perspective is increasingly put forth as an analytical framework well suited to studying complex social-ecological systems. The underlying rationale is that the network approach as such is generic and allows the research to model any kind of systems as consisting of separated but interlinked components of different kinds. Hence, integrated social-ecological systems could be analyzed as social–ecological networks where interdependent ecological entities (e.g. species and habitat patches) and social entities (e.g. users, managers, agencies and NGOs) could be simultaneously incorporated in a common systems model.

The benefits of this approach include an explicit focus on the structure of interactions between social and ecological components and the ways in which this structure affects system behavior, as well as the availability of a uniform language with communicates across a multitude of scientific disciplines. But there are also some challenges arising as this analytical approach is operationalized.

Since the Resilience 2011 conference a number of studies have been initiated to operationalize the analysis of social-ecological networks. In this session we present a range of the most recent developments of this emerging line of research. We then devote time to a moderated discussion with panel members and audience to discuss the critical challenges and key opportunities of this approach and what it can bring to our enhanced understanding of social-ecological interactions. More specifically the discussion will center on:

  • Which different approaches are currently being developed to conceptualize SES as social-ecological networks (empirical, experimental etc)?
  • What type of insights and research questions are possible and feasible (or not) for the different approaches?
  • What are some of the critical challenges encountered in the work conducted so far?
  • What are the key opportunities and potential contributions for this approach to enhance our understanding of social-ecological systems?

The panel links social and biophysical sciences and will therefore touch upon several of the conference themes. However, the panel will be particularly relevant for the theme on new methodologies and tools.

Session contributors:

Bodin, Thyresson, Crona, Golz, Tengö  – “Building blocks of sustainability: how different patterns of social-ecological interdependencies can explain governance outcomes”

Bergsten, Galafassi, Bodin – “Comparing Social and Ecological Connectivity in Land-use Planning using a spatially explicit network approach: the case of Stockholm County, Sweden”

Kininmonth, Vaccaro, Bodin, Crona, Chapman – “Fish, fishers and middlemen: a multilevel analysis of social- and ecological interdependencies in a small scale fishery”

Ekstrom, Young – “Predicting Institutional Preparedness for Ocean Acidification”

Galafassi, Bodin – “Transformations from a social-ecological network perspective”

This panel will follow the format of individual presentations (approx. 10 min each) followed by a moderated panel discussion where the audience is invited to contribute. In addition to the presenters, a senior panel member (Brian Walker) will provide a theoretical and historical backdrop to the quest of accomplishing transdisciplinary research and a discussion of how this emerging approach may contribute to this endeavor.

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